Information needs of nurses caring for patients at BHCHP

Abstract

People who are homeless or under housed are at risk for a number of health problems. These include substance abuse, mental illness, brain injuries, HIV as well as skin disorders, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Boston Health Care for the Homeless (BHCHP) operates as an in-patient facility that cares for people who have recently been released from acute care hospital, but are not yet well enough to be living “outside”. Over the past five years, nurses from this facility have noticed an increase in the incidence of falls in their patients. They suspect that the reason for this increase is that they have been receiving more patients who are at a lower functional level compared to prior patients. They have expressed a need for a solution to this problem and a desire for education and training that will enable them to provide better care for their patients. This is a pilot study to assess the balance abilities of patients staying at BHCHP using the mini BESTest to determine the level of risk to assist in developing an in-service and other types of training for the nursing staff. Participants are selected based on referrals from the nursing staff and by random selection. The data we collect will show the extent to which decreased balance and subsequent fall risk is present. We will use this information, along with information obtained from the nurses about their perceived needs, to educate the nursing staff on the needs of their patients and strategies to support them.