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Access to Healthcare Among Those Experiencing Homelessness: A Depression Screening Project

Description

Homeless individuals encounter barriers such as lack of health insurance, increased cost of care and unavailability of resources. They have increased risk of comorbid physical disease and poor mental health.

Homeless individuals encounter barriers such as lack of health insurance, increased cost of care and unavailability of resources. They have increased risk of comorbid physical disease and poor mental health. Depression is a prevalent mental health disorder in the US linked to increased risk of mortality. Literature suggests depression screening can identify high-risk individuals with using the patient health questionnaire (PHQ-9).

The objective of this project is to determine if screening identifies depression in the homeless and how it impacts healthcare access. Setting is a local organization in Phoenix offering shelter to homeless individuals. An evidence-based project was implemented over two months in 2019 using convenience sampling. Intervention included depression screening using the PHQ-9, referring to primary care and tracking appointment times. IRB approval obtained from Arizona State University, privacy discussed, and consent obtained prior to data collection. Participants were assigned a random number to protect privacy.

A chart audit tool was used to obtain sociodemographics and insurance status. Descriptive statistics used and analyzed using Intellectus. Sample size was (n = 18), age (M = 35) most were White-non-Hispanic, 44% had a high school diploma and 78% were insured. Mean score was 7.72, three were previously diagnosed and not referred. Three were referred with a turnaround appointment time of one, two and seven days respectively. No significant correlation found between age and depression severity. A significant correlation found between previous diagnosis and depression severity. Attention to PHQ-9 varied among providers and not always addressed. Future projects should focus on improving collaboration between this facility and providers, increasing screening and ensuring adequate follow up and treatment.

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Date Created
  • 2020-05-04

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Tai Chi for Falls Prevention: A Student-Led DNP Project

Description

Aim: To reduce the fear of falling in an elderly population by teaching ‘Tai Chi for Falls Prevention’ classes twice a week for 12 weeks.

Background & Significance: Falls continue to

Aim: To reduce the fear of falling in an elderly population by teaching ‘Tai Chi for Falls Prevention’ classes twice a week for 12 weeks.

Background & Significance: Falls continue to be the leading cause of injury-related deaths of Arizonans who are 65 years or older - well above the national average. It is predicted that by 2030, national medical spending for this population will total over $31 billion, yearly. Tai Chi is revered for being a beneficial form of simple, low-impact exercise, which the CDC endorses for its falls risk reduction benefits.

Methods: The intervention consisted of 60-minute classes occurring twice a week for 12 weeks. Participants were English-speaking, between 65-85 years old, and able to ambulate independently. Appropriate pre-screening tools were used before applicants consented. Their Fear of Falling (FoF) was measured using a fall risk perception tool at the beginning, middle, and the end of the project. This ordinal data was analyzed with Friedman ANOVA using SPSS 25

Outcomes/Results: After enrolling five total participants, only three completed the project. This severely limited data analysis of their FoF, resulting in a statistical significance (p = 0.68), deeming the intervention ineffective - Despite observable downwards trending FoF scores.

Conclusion: The acceptance of the null hypothesis is attributed to the low enrollment and high attrition rate. Also, the only data measured was quantifiable, subjective data. Future projects could add objective data to reinforce the benefits of Tai Chi. This might reinforce the validity of Tai Chi as a practical recommendation due to its cost-effective simple interventional design and effectiveness for prevention of accidental falls. Increased focus on improved recruitment & retainment strategies should be prioritized for similar projects in the future.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2019-04-15