In the year 2020, there were about 34, 210 individuals under the age of 25 identified as experiencing homelessness. Unhoused youth are at a greater risk for poor health conditions and adverse childhood experiences. Youth without housing face structural barriers within the healthcare system when trying to receive care. Structural barriers are policies and procedures that are systematically present within our healthcare system that sustain unequal treatment for specific populations. These barriers have an impact on the health of the unhoused youth population and diminish the unhoused youth’s desire to seek healthcare services. This rapid systematic review was conducted to address and analyze the implications structural barriers alone can have on unhoused youth’s access to healthcare. Examining literature published between January 1st, 2012, and April 4th, 2022 in PubMed and CINAHL, the title and abstract of 2,786 articles were reviewed. After the application of inclusion and exclusion criteria by a single researcher, six articles were determined eligible for inclusion in the study. Data were extracted on the presence and effect of five structural barriers: insurance coverage, limited clinic sites, chronic health conditions, long wait times, and quality of care. While each barrier has an impact on health and access, insurance coverage and limited clinic sites were found to be the primary structural barriers affecting the unhoused youth’s access to healthcare services. Future research needs to identify public health interventions that can alleviate barriers and better connect this population to the healthcare system, specifically that of primary care providers.
Davidson, Julia, "Evaluating Structural Barriers to Healthcare Access Experienced by Youth Without Housing" (2022). Master of Public Health Capstone Presentations. Presentation 449.