“Shelter-based Health Care for Impoverished Women in Boston”

Table 2: Chronic Medical Conditions

Design: Cross-sectional survey of underserved women, utilizing structured interviews.

Settings and Participants: Fifty women, aged 29-67, who sought medical care repeatedly at two daytime shelters in Boston, Massachusetts since program inception in 1999.

Main Outcome Measures: Survey measures included self-reported questions about socio-demographics, physical and mental health co-morbidities, health care needs, health care utilization patterns, and perceived barriers to care.

Main Results: The response rate was 74%. The average age of respondents was 52.4 years. All women had health insurance. 70% reported stable housing – 84% of whom had been housed for › 1 year. 94% reported multiple medical problems – the most common diagnosis was depression (70%). 89% reported having a primary care provider, but only one respondent had been with the same provider over the past five years. Subjects preferred obtaining medical services through Health Care Without Walls, citing preference for providers who understand their issues (88%), ability to obtain over-the-counter medicines and medical supplies (85%), and assistance with accessing traditional healthcare delivery systems (82%).

Conclusions: Improverished women continue to access medical services at day shelters even after obtaining housing, health insurance, and primary care providers. The HCWW model is one applicable approach to overcome perceived barriers to accessing the traditional healthcare system.

Medical Condition No. Subjects Percent Subjects
Depression 26 70%
Musculoskeletal Disease 18 49%
Anxiety 15 41%
Hypertension 14 38%
Substance Abuse 13 35%
Past 6 16%
Present 7 19%
Traumatic Brain Injury 12 32%
Hyperlipidemia 12 32%
Respiratory Illness 11 30%
Diabetes 9 22%
Obesity 8 22%
Heart Disease 6 16%