chronic health problems, higher risk of suicide, mental health problems, and drug or alcohol addiction. Also, their state of health is worsened by poor nutrition, poor hygiene, and a higher likelihood of experiencing violence or trauma on the street or in a shelter (p. 103).
It is clear to see the negative for both short and long-term health consequences and the increases in the mortality rate are the direct cause for the living conditions for street youth. But still, the connection between the street youth and health goes much deeper. Due to the risk factor that leads many people to be homeless is also a risk factor for bad health, an example of this is the poverty and substance abuse.
With the Canadian universal health care, there are still many problems with it, and some of it is also related to the barriers that many street youth face just to get access for health care services and sometimes, many homeless youth are incapable of accessing these services. Under the Canadian universal health care system, it explains how all individuals are to be covered and provided regardless of their financial status. In Toronto, a research study was conducted in 1169 homeless individual, and one of the results from the research explains how non-financial barriers are one of the issues that were persistent in keeping many homeless people from accessing the health care system. The study explains how about 17% of the participants clarify that they did not met the needs to qualify for the healthcare system. This issue was due to the number of the non-financial barriers that the researchers identified within the study, which contain the constant need for food, shelter, the lack of transportation and the feeling of stigmatization (Hwang, Ueng, Chiu, Kiss, Tolomiczenko, Cowan, Levinson, & Redelmeier, 2010, p. 3). Also, due to many youths being homeless, the lack of a permanent home also prevents many from obtaining a health card, which causes barriers such getting an appointment with a doctor to get the medical treatment they require for their health. Because of this barrier, it makes things challenging for many because they cannot access primary health care and the treatment needed that health care provides to and for many homeless individuals is most concentrated in emergency departments (Power, 2 2008), which are sometimes the last resort care for many street youths who are unable to access treatment they needed before their health progressively worsened and or became life-threatening. This is an unsuccessful process for addressing long-term health issues of many homeless individuals and it also has an impact on the Canadian health care system due to it being very costly.
Various Policy Options
Within many studies done on street youth, it presents arguments that explain on how the current health care system does not effectively address the health care that many street youths need, (Currie, Greaves, Golden, & Latimer, 1999, p. 103). People within society and people from undeveloped backgrounds assume that people who have the access to the health care system usually have a stable housing and social support in place, but it is the opposite for many street youths. This is one the problems that the health care system failed to address. The most expressed solution to the issue for street youth are modified primary care tactics and housing solutions.
Within health policy, the modified primary care tactics fall under it due to how it explores the difference between homeless people who have access to primary care than non-homeless individual accessing it. This included thing like the illness that many street youths faces and number of financial and no-financial barriers that prevented them from getting the treatment needed for the health care system. To address this problem, it needs to first address the barriers that it will be facing such as providing care to people who lack provincial health cards, providing a free drug plan that is covered by the health care system, better transportation, better service that street youth face living in certain areas and the changes of health care providers to be more understanding and trustworthy to many street youths. So that many of youths don’t feel as if they’re being stigmatized when they go to treatment (Shortt, Hwang, Stuart, Bedore, Zurba & Darling, 2008). Short et. al (2008) research about the collection of primary care models look at the three alternative models of primary care can be useful for addressing the care of a homeless individual.
Three policy models for addressing homeless youth
The first model “targeted standard facility/clinic site,” was based on the study that was conducted in the United States. The characteristic of the clinic is the same as it is in Canada, which includes testing done in a family physicians office, focus on immediate care for acute illness, screening and health education. As for homeless needs, most clinics are often located near shelters having a scheduled hour from daytime to evening. The goal of this model is to help integrate many users into the healthcare while it also provides care to street youth, so that many of them would not resort to visiting a hospital’s emergency department.
The second model is “fixed outreach site”, which is similar the first model due to focus on its service areas. However, the difference from the previous model is that it provides care in a location that will be more accessible to people who already unable to receive local care. Most of the fixed outreach site locations are usually located within shelters, public drop-in centers, and transitional housing settings. In addition to providing immediate care to many homeless individuals, one of the main goals of the “fixed outreach site” is to inspire the repeat use of health care services by patients to restore them into the health system. Many outreach clinics also share information with health and social agencies as a way of providing better care services.