Homeless Individuals as Vulnerable Population

Topic: Public Health
Words: 586 Pages: 2


The vulnerable population is a collective term given to persons with limited healthcare coverage. These individuals receive poor-quality services and have less than favorable care outcomes. Members of vulnerable populations are frequently the product of systemic injustices based on ethnicity, racial segregation, mental disorders, gender orientation, or physical illnesses. Additionally, the majority of them do not have families to take care of their health needs and ensure they adhere strictly to the medical prescriptions after they receive medication. An analysis of homeless persons as part of the vulnerable population, the healthcare policies applied to them, and the impact of such programs on the target group form the basis of this paper.

The Homeless as a Vulnerable Population

Homeless people are more prone to suffer from chronic diseases due to financial constraints. Consequently, they are less likely to contact the healthcare system as their main priority is food and basic survival. This leads to having co-occurrence of diseases with other disorders such as anxiety, insomnia, post-traumatic stress disorder, and depression. The national and local governments can implement health programs such as insurance policies to improve healthcare access for the homeless. For example, In the United States, the Medicaid program provides healthcare coverage to different marginalized populations including the homeless (Talal et al., 2020). Another policy involves the establishment of healthcare facilities in homelessness-infested regions. In areas where the government is unable to establish such units, mobile clinics can be employed whereby healthcare services are provided periodically on specific days. The section below highlights how these two policies help the U.S. government to reduce health disparities.

Healthcare Policies That Affect the Homeless Population

The use of Medicaid and the expansion of health units in homeless areas have significantly improved access to quality care services among this vulnerable group. Medicaid, for example, has reduced opioid-induced deaths and improved preventative care among the homeless (Talal et al., 2020). Concurrently, the expansion of health facilities in homeless settlements has boosted access to prescribed medications for cardiovascular disease and psychiatric disorders. There has been an increase in the number of patients attending health checkups which have not only contributed to the early detection of infections but improved the overall health of patients as well. Cancer screening services offered by new healthcare outlets have helped to reduce the burden of the disease in major hospitals across the United States.

How Advanced Practice Nurses Can Curb Disparities in Health

Furthermore, there are two key strategies that Advanced Practice Nurses can use to help reduce and eliminate healthcare disparities. They entail fostering diversity in the nursing sector and adopting a community-centric treatment approach (Wadhera et al., 2019). Whereas the former guarantees that minority populations’ primary care needs are met, the latter allows nurses to deliver care in their patients’ native language (Talal et al., 2020). These two strategies contribute to improved health literacy and easy access to care by patients from different cultures thus eliminating disparities.


As highlighted in the introductory paragraph, the vulnerable population receive less than favorable care outcomes due to limited healthcare coverage. Homeless people feature under this category and are more prone to suffer from chronic diseases due to financial constraints. To assist such cohorts and address health disparities, the government uses policies such as Medicaid and the establishment of healthcare systems in areas with prevalent homelessness. The study of health disparities among homeless individuals highlighted throughout this paper can help readers appreciate the role of federal policies such as Medicaid in promoting better health care among marginalized cohorts.


Talal, A. H., Sofikitou, E. M., Jaanimägi, U., Zeremski, M., Tobin, J. N., & Markatou, M. (2020). A framework for patient-centered telemedicine: Application and lessons learned from vulnerable populations. Journal of Biomedical Informatics, 112, 103622.

Wadhera, R. K., Choi, E., Shen, C., Yeh, R. W., & Maddox, K. E. J. (2019). Trends, causes, and outcomes of hospitalizations for homeless individuals: A retrospective cohort study. Medical Care, 57(1), 21.

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