Flinders University’s Associate Professor Yvonne Parry will undertake a formal evaluation of vital health services being provided for women and children experiencing homelessness, thanks to a funding grant from the Hospital Research Foundation Group.
These nurse-led community services have been run by various non-government agencies across Adelaide since 2019 and provide health assessments, treatment and referrals for these vulnerable people.
The $50,000 grant will help the services to continue in 2022, with Associate Professor Parry’s evaluation a key to help establish permanent service offerings in the future.
More than 170 families helped each year
Associate Professor Parry, from the College of Nursing and Health Sciences, says the service sees more than 170 families a year, with many working through physical and mental health problems.
“Families make up about 66 per cent of the homeless population in Australia, and up to 80 per cent of this due to domestic violence, so there is a huge need to monitor the health and welfare of these vulnerable children and their mothers,” says Associate Professor Parry.
“Without access to healthcare such as a regular GP, developmental milestones may be missed and mothers are at risk of delaying their own health needs.
“This can result in detrimental long-term health outcomes such as missed immunisation, physical, cognitive and behavioural developmental impairment and failure to meet milestones. Add to this the impact and trauma of exposure to domestic violence which may result in delays to seeking appropriate healthcare.
“We are hugely grateful to The Hospital Research Foundation Group for supporting this project and helping us move forward to ensure families have access to timely and appropriate healthcare.”
Sites involved in the formal evaluation include:
- Outer Southern Homelessness Service, Lutheran Care, Morphett Vale
- Uniting Care Wesley Bowden, Community Centre, Bowden
- Kurlana Community Childcare Centre, Hendon
- Torrensville Community Centre, Torrensville
Access to healthcare for vulnerable children
THRF Group CEO Paul Flynn says the Foundation places a huge priority on helping vulnerable sections of the community.
“Our supporters tell us that this area of healthcare is very important to them. Good health begins at an early age, and without the very basics in life or a safe place to sleep, there can be long-term impacts on physical and mental health,” says Mr Flynn.
“Ensuring these families see a qualified nurse practitioner and receive the right treatment and referrals provides a great first step to preventing them from falling through the gaps.
“We are also a Gold Partner of grassroots charity Treasure Boxes which provides essential items to disadvantaged mothers and children. Early intervention really does help.”