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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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Implementation of a Child Physical Abuse Screening Program in the Emergency Department

Description

Children often present to the emergency department (ED) for treatment of abuse-related injuries. ED healthcare providers (HCPs) do not consistently screen children for physical abuse, which may allow abuse to

Children often present to the emergency department (ED) for treatment of abuse-related injuries. ED healthcare providers (HCPs) do not consistently screen children for physical abuse, which may allow abuse to go undetected and increases the risk for re-injury and death. ED HCPs frequently cite lack of knowledge or confidence in screening for and detecting child physical abuse.

The purpose of this evidence-based quality improvement project was to implement a comprehensive screening program that included ED HCP education on child physical abuse, a systematic screening protocol, and use of the validated Escape Instrument. After a 20-minute educational session, there was a significant increase in ED HCP knowledge and confidence scores for child physical abuse screening and recognition (p < .001). There was no difference in diagnostic coding of child physical abuse by ED HCPs when evaluating a 30-day period before and after implementation of the screening protocol.

In a follow-up survey, the Escape Instrument and educational session were the most reported screening facilitators, while transition to a new electronic health system was the most reported barrier. The results of this project support comprehensive ED screening programs as a method of improving HCP knowledge and confidence in screening for and recognizing child physical abuse. Future research should focus on the impact of screening on the diagnosis and treatment of child physical abuse. Efforts should also be made to standardize child abuse screening programs throughout all EDs, with the potential for spread to other settings.

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Date Created
  • 2018-04-09