Nursing Diagnoses of the Homeless Population in Light of Self-care Theory

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A growing number of people find themselves in conditions of extreme poverty, which often makes living on the streets the only option. Living conditions in this setting exert a direct impact on health and self-care. Health care for the homeless population should be planned in an interdisciplinary and intersectoral manner. In this context, nursing diagnoses constitute an essential part of the systemization of care.


The aims of the present study were to identify nursing diagnoses of a homeless population and propose nursing interventions based on the findings in light of the Nursing Outcomes Classification and Nursing Interventions Classification.


A descriptive, cross-sectional study with a quantitative approach was conducted on the streets of the city of Recife in northeastern Brazil.


The sample consisted of 274 male and female adult homeless individuals.


Data collection involved the administration of a semi-structured interview, the Alcohol, Smoking and Substance Involvement Screening Test and the International Neuropsychiatric Interview.


The most prevalent diagnoses were related to risk-prone health behaviors (78.1%), inadequate health maintenance (67.1%), along with sleep deprivation (100%), feelings of hopelessness (100%) and low self-esteem (99%).


The experience enabled the identification of the peculiarities of the population, bringing nursing practice closer to health promotion for the homeless. Adequate public policies and training for health teams are needed to address the health needs of the homeless population.

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