Within today’s constant debate on healthcare reform, lies a group of people who often go unnoticed: America’s homeless. For a long time, the homeless were amongst some of the very few who did not qualify for quality healthcare services. The new Obama Administration has established funding and programs that allot Americans free health care, however, not all are aware of how to receive these services. Most homeless individuals are not even aware that they have been made available.
This research proposal will discuss 1) the issues concerning the homeless population and their health; 2) the reasons behind the homeless lacking proper knowledge regarding these changes and 3) the necessary accommodations that are needed to better acclimate and educate the homeless population on these changes.
REVIEW OF LITERATURE
Most of the homeless includes a population of elders aging between 50 and over. Being homeless raises the chances of them not being covered by health care (Kushel, 2012). There are a number of health issues that increase for those who are homeless and elderly. As they grow older, health implications continue to rise without the proper remedy to cure or prevent it. According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, those who are elderly and homeless “are more likely to experience multiple medical problems and chronic illnesses that may have gone untreated for years” (United States Department of Health and Human Services, 2003). For many, there is also an increase in drug related health issues like the adverse effects of withdrawing, blood-borne infections, respiratory problems, and mental problems (Wright & Tompkins, 2006). The homeless community also possesses a higher rate of mental illnesses (Folsom et al., 2002). In the event of a medical issue they are less likely to seek medical attention because they believe they cannot afford to (Watson, George, & Walker, 2008).
With the new Affordable Care Act established by the Obama Administration, any uninsured American is free to any and all medical attention necessary (Abram, 2013). According to the Huffington Post, many of the homeless lack this knowledge because of poor outreach and communication (2013). Had they would have been educated on the different avenues of medical attention made free to them, there would be an increase in the utilization of preventative, primary care services, rather than an overuse of emergency services (Watson et al., 2008).
It is important that the homeless community be made aware of what can help them better survive. Outreach programs have been established to help educate on the subject of free medical care, however many still do not know about them or their services (2013).
Potential Ethical Issues
Once made aware, the influx of people looking to receive care can potentially create conflict for the immediate providers. There may be a decrease in the appropriate space and time needed to make sure each patient is...