An analysis of nurse-led COVID-19 interventions among homeless populations – a mixed methods study

This research project will study the effectiveness of nursing care given to prevent, identify or treat COVID-19 among people who are homeless. Research shows that homeless populations are more at risk of infections because of existing health issues and diseases, poor nutrition, addictions and mental health problems. People who are homeless often experience barriers to health/social care because of stigma and marginalisation.  There is increased risk of COVID-19 spread when a person has poor access to regular handwashing or has no fixed abode. Social distancing and self-isolation may be difficult in shared housing or temporary accommodation.  Addiction and mental health issues may also compromise self-care.

Not enough is known about the needs of homeless people in pandemic situations and how best to prevent and treat infections so this is important knowledge to gather.  For those who are socially excluded, nurses are often the most accessible and trusted members of the healthcare team.  This research aims to learn more about the nursing care delivered to homeless people to prevent, identify and treat COVID- 19. We will carry out case studies of five different homeless nursing services using a systematic evaluation guide on each case to help us identify what went well and what could have been improved.  We will then compare the similarities and differences between all five cases to identify the most effective approaches to managing the care needs of homeless people during a pandemic. These results and recommendations will be shared with health/social services and decision makers to improve healthcare practice and government policy so that services can respond quickly and effectively in ongoing/future pandemics.

Many nurses have reported higher levels of stress/anxiety because of their care work during COVID-19. We will carry out an online questionnaire among nurses working with marginalised groups during COVID-19.  The results will help us to gain more insight regarding the needs of nurses so that improved psychological and clinical support can be developed and implemented.   

Award Date
26 June 2020
Award Value
Principal Investigator
Dr Briege Casey
Host Institution