NS521 Community Nursing Principles and Theories

Student Participants: Jennifer Pustorinoi, Rose Ty, Johanna Elliot, Daley Baldwin, Jean Christensen, and Katie LaPorte 

This project provided education and resources as part of primary prevention for the goal of increasing hygiene practices within the homeless population. Data on proper hygiene practices among the homeless population is lacking; however, it is evident that practicing good hygiene and self-care behaviors is an important factor in reducing both psychosocial and physical health complications. People who are homeless may have limited resources in accessing facilities such as toilets, laundering services, showers, and private sanitation rooms. As a result, individuals are at a much higher risk for contracting infections, disease progression, and lack of knowledge in correctly identifying early signs and symptoms of disease.

44 individuals at Boston Healthcare for the Homeless Program (BHCHP) accessed and interacted at the various hygiene stations focused on the areas of oral, skin, and foot health. Stations included educational handouts, pictures to identify stages of worsening hygiene, and information to identify early signs and symptoms of disease. Student nurses conducted a pre-test and post-test to identify target areas for increasing knowledge of proper hygiene techniques as well as to evaluate the intervention. The pre-test mean score was 79% and the post-test score was 100%. After taking the pre-test, individuals went through the three hygiene stations to learn interactively how to increase health. Afterwards, individuals took a post-test and received a goodie bag as an incentive and encouragement to keep up with their hygiene.

Student nurses were able to put together 30 bags including: socks, lotion, soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss, deodorant, and granola bars. Additionally, students were able to provide individuals with toothbrushes, deodorant, and soap to all that accessed the stations. Overall, the students had a successful hygiene intervention at BHCHP. Rachel