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Nursing Essay: Role of Nurses to Reduce Homelessness in Indigenous Australians

Question

Task

Prepare a nursing essay describing how nurses can work in partnership with the community of your choice (within Australia), using a strength-based approach to reduce homelessness.

Answer

Introduction
The present nursing essay sheds light on the issue of homelessness which is considered to be a growing and significant issue in the Australian community. According to the estimates of the NAACHO (2020), it has been found that about 116,000 Australians are estimated to be homeless in 2016. Among these 51,000 individuals who reside in severely crowded places, 21,000 individuals were living in supported accommodation and 8,2000 are considered to be rough sleepers. Further, it has been found that the affordability of the rent and the repayment of the mortgages can be regarded as the crucial issue with 1.3 million Australians experiencing stress or residing below the poverty line. The nurses act as the case finders as well as the referral sources for the homeless Indigenous Australians (Community Rebuilders, 2017). It is the responsibility of the nurses to identify as well as intervene among the homeless Indigenous Australians who are at risk thereby providing them educational programs to fulfill their needs and thus reducing homelessness. This essay will highlight the role of the nurses in working in partnership with the Indigenous Australians with the help of the strength-based approach to reduce homelessness in their community.

Discussion
Homelessness is a multifaceted public health problem mostly among the Indigenous Australian community. The Department of Health and Human Services has stated varied goals related to homelessness for the achievement of health equity, the elimination of disparities as well as the creation of a healthy social as well as physical environment (NAACHO, 2020). Although different researches are made to determine the role of nurses in the fulfillment and the achievement of the goals, the nurses must possess adequate abilities and skills to tackle the issue of homelessness among the Indigenous Australian community on a cost-effective and humanitarian ground (Australian College of Nursing, 2021). This is possible through bridging the divide between the homeless as well as the housed Indigenous community improving the well-being and the health of the individuals at a larger cost.

The nurses can be considered as the backbone and the glue for the healthcare system, especially for Indigenous Australians. It has been found that the different clinics operating across the Indigenous community in Australia are led by the nurses comprising of the registered nurse, the enrolled nurse, and the nursing practitioner. The nurses are trying their best in heading out of the community by carrying out systematic discussions linked to the chronic management of disease and health education (Nurses A Voice to Lead, 2020). Nursing care is pivotal in assisting the vulnerable group of Australians who are homeless. It is the responsibility of the nurses to deal with the Aboriginal individuals who have little support or no support thereby putting them at a greater risk. On the other hand, the nurses who are in charge of the Aboriginals experiencing homelessness are treated and managed around the familiar surroundings in their community. This is possible when the nurses have a range of communication and clinical skills to check that they have a connection with the trust and the gain of the patients (Roche et al., 2018). The nurses are to provide care in those situations when the Aboriginals require them. This is likely to save the life of the Aboriginals by the words and the touch of the nurses. Moreover, it also assists in the establishment of connections between the patients who are disfranchised, disengaged as well as wander homeless.

There are many such Aboriginals across Australia experiencing homelessness and it is the responsibility of the nurses to ensure that all the individuals have access to healthcare services. The nurses must provide support to the patients in such situations only when the Aboriginals require them. Further, it can be said that as the causes of homelessness for the Aboriginals are considered to be multifactorial and complex, there is no single pathway to remove homelessness. Due to this homelessness, it has been found that the Aboriginals are at an increased risk of infectious disease as well as health problems such as mental health disorder, HIV infection, hepatitis, and other diseases. All these problems pose a burden on public health and it is the responsibility of the nurses to assist the homeless Aboriginals in such situations (Roche et al., 2018). This can be considered to be a preventable cost in the health care system thereby restricting the widespread rate of homelessness among the Aboriginals.

There are different types of barriers linked with homelessness among the Aboriginals such as the relationship barriers, the personal barriers, and the practical barriers. The varied types of illness and poor health generally act as the barrier to access to healthcare among the Aboriginals mostly the mental illness. It can be said that as the experience of trauma among homeless individuals is universal, it is the responsibility of the nurse to motivate such individuals thereby lowering their anxiety. As the Aboriginals who are homeless are sensitive to rejections, it can be said that the nurses also use non-verbal cues to assist the individuals thereby developing trust and belief (NACCHO, 2020). On the other hand, the varied types of physical barriers linked with the health services can be considered to be the crucial determinant of health where the nurses must play an active role in the provision of medication security. This is because homeless individuals possess the fear that they might be stolen or removed from society and thus in such a situation, the nurses must play an active role in the provision of the appropriate level of care to the Aboriginals. Further, it can be said that the stigmatization for seeking mental health as well as the alcohol problems among the Aboriginals must also be taken care of by the nurses (Goeman et al., 2019). This is required to develop a sense of security among the Aboriginals regardless of the intentions of the nurses.

To tackle the above-associated problems, it is the responsibility of the nurses to manage the comorbidities and the characteristics of the homeless patients. Although the result is considered to be expensive, it assists in saving the lives of the individuals as well as improving their well-being. Further, it can be said that to tackle the varied types of health disparities of homelessness, the nurses are to take a different approach. The strength-based approach sounds exactly like “We approach the participants, their strength, base, housing process as well as the road to the long-term housing stability around them”. Based on this perspective, the strength of the Aboriginals can be enhanced even when they are in a disastrous situation through the assistance of the nurses (Wood, et al., 2018). With the help of the Housing First model, it has been found that the Aboriginals can participate in a different program that lays impact their families positively. This will make it easier for them to receive roofs and thus make all the individuals united under one roof. With the help of this strength-based approach, it becomes easier to understand the varied perspectives that are required by the nurses in understanding the problem as well as analyzing it correctly with the accurate level of prescription. Although this strength-based approach of the nurses can be considered to yield accurate and simple results, it rarely addresses the real issue in the long term (Rashidi et al., 2020). The strength-based cycle generally begins with the holistic focus including an emphasis on the strength and the resources involved in the process of change. When varied challenges and problems are experienced and witnessed by the nurses, it is likely to create positive expectations that are different thereby opening up several other ways for the development of competencies. Further, the nurses must also work collaboratively with the Aboriginals to promote the opportunity for the individuals thereby being the co-producer of the support and the services rather than focusing on the patients solely (Calvo et al., 2020). On the other hand, according to the strength-based approach, it is the responsibility of the nurse to provide care, support as well as inclusion related to the skills and the resources so that it becomes easier to grow relationships and tackle the problem of homelessness among the Indigenous community. The nurses in such a case can be found to be in charge of the care needs and thus they can tackle the lives of the homeless Aboriginals to a great extent.

To tackle the problem of homelessness in the Aboriginal Australian community, the nurses must find out a relevant solution in the community or the social environment at the support panning or the care stage. In such a situation, the nurses must try to find out such resources that will provide the actual support in removing homelessness from the Australian society along with the relevant level of care. On the other hand, the nurses must also approach the local community to reap the benefits of the strength-based approach thereby tackling homelessness in the Indigenous Australian community (Wallace et al., 2018). This is possible through connecting with the family members or the individuals who are homeless thereby finding out appropriate action for the improvement of their life and supporting them to stay strong, connected, and safe. On the other hand, the appropriate level of care is also to be taken to focus on the strength, contribution, and aspirations of the Aboriginals who are homeless through empowering and sustaining their networks locally thereby nurturing independence and resilience.

There are varied types of positive outcomes that are reported by the nurses in the case of the homeless Aboriginals highlighting the primary health services to facilitate primary health care and lower the burden on the acute services. This will add up to the early evidence-based care that is considered to be effective in that particular population. On the other hand, the nurses also collaborate and add up with the mental health and the other specialist to tackle homelessness among the Aboriginals through the facilitation of the connection externally (Beaton et al., 2020). Homelessness can be considered to be an issue independent of the health services in some circumstances and thus it is important to adopt preventive mechanism so that it acts as the early indicators for the exploration process. Further, with the help of these indicators, it becomes easier for the nurses to initiate the other related interventions and thus reduce homelessness among the Aboriginals.

The strength-based approach used by the nurses in removing homelessness also results in the cultural shift with the focus on the individual’s strength and ability. The strength-based approach reduces the dependency and the prescription culture thereby protecting and promoting resilience, choice, independence and well-being. The nurses also possess greater knowledge and awareness of the community, the social capital and the resources linked with homelessness so that it becomes easier for them to control the Aboriginals (Calvo et al., 2020). Further, the nurses must also carry out clinical sessions with the Aboriginals an effective strategy for reducing the spread of diseases among the homeless (Roche et al., 2018). The health care team including the nurses must assist the homeless Aboriginals with the medical issues and thus it is proven to be a powerful tool in tackling the individuals.

Conclusion
Therefore, it can be said that the role of the nurses along with the strength-based approach in dealing with the complex issue of homelessness among the Aboriginals assists in focusing on interpersonal skills and advocacy. The nurses can tackle this problem through the incorporation of the nursing fundamentals such as advocacy and interpersonal skills through carrying out a comprehensive assessment, referral, and the treatment process. Therefore, it can be said that with the help of an improved level of transition services as well as long-term continuity care, it can be easier for the nurses to reduce homelessness among the Aboriginals.

References
Australian College of Nursing. (2021). Nurses lead the way in supporting Australians experiencing homelessness. Retrieved 14 May 2021, from https://www.acn.edu.au/nurseclick/nurses-lead-the-way-in-supporting-australians-experiencing-homelessness

Beaton, L., Humphris, G., Rodriguez, A., & Freeman, R. (2020). Community-based oral health interventions for people experiencing homelessness: a scoping review. Community dental health, 37, 1-11. https://doi.org/10.1922/cdh_00014beaton11

Calvo, F., Carbonell, X., & Mundet, C. (2020). Developing and Testing the Populi Needle Exchange Point Finder: An App to Reduce Harm Associated With Intravenous Drug Consumption Among Homeless and Non-homeless Drug Users. Frontiers in Public Health, 8, 807. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpubh.2020.493321

Community Rebuilders. (2017). Housing First and the Strength-Based Approach to Ending Homelessness. Retrieved 14 May 2021, from https://communityrebuilders.org/strength-based-approach/

Goeman, D., Howard, J., & Ogrin, R. (2019). Implementation and refinement of a community health nurse model of support for people experiencing homelessness in Australia: a collaborative approach. BMJ open, 9(11), e030982. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2019-030982

Homeless Hub. (2020). Strength-Based Approach. Retrieved 14 May 2021, from https://www.homelesshub.ca/toolkit/strength-based-approach

NACCHO. (2020). Reducing the incidence & impact of homelessness on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Retrieved 14 May 2021, from https://www.aph.gov.au/DocumentStore.ashx?id=40a7e9dd-fe85-49e6-b8a1-b29b83249c79&subId=685861

Nurses A Voice to Lead. (2020). Nurses’ role in achieving the sustainable development goals. Retrieved 14 May 2021, from https://www.icnvoicetolead.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/ICN_AVoiceToLead_guidancePack-9.pdf

Rashidi, A., Higgs, P., & Carruthers, S. (2020). Aboriginal people with chronic HCV: The role of community health nurses for improving health-related quality of life. Collegian, 27(3), 250-257. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.colegn.2019.08.006

Roche, M. A., Duffield, C., Smith, J., Kelly, D., Cook, R., Bichel?Findlay, J., ... & Carter, D. J. (2018). Nurse?led primary health care for homeless men: a multimethods descriptive study. International nursing review, 65(3), 392-399. https://doi.org/10.1111/inr.12419

Wallace, B., Barber, K., & Pauly, B. B. (2018). Sheltering risks: Implementation of harm reduction in homeless shelters during an overdose emergency. International Journal of Drug Policy, 53, 83-89. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.drugpo.2017.12.011

Wood, L., Gazey, A., Vallesi, S., Cumming, C., & Chapple, N. (2018). Tackling health disparities among people experiencing homelessness–the impact of homeless healthcare. Perth, Western Australia: School of Popualtion and Global Health, The University of Western Australia. https://doi.org/10.1108/HCS-09-2018-0023

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