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Voices of women in homelessness during the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic: A co-created qualitative study
Marie Cederschiöld University, Department of Health Care Sciences. Uppsala universitet.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5104-1281
Röda Korsets Högskola.
Marie Cederschiöld University, Department of Health Care Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2135-2684
Högskolan i Gävle.
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2023 (English)In: BMC Women's Health, E-ISSN 1472-6874, Vol. 23, no 11Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

BACKGROUND: Women in homelessness face extreme health- and social inequities. It could be postulated that during societal crises, they become even more vulnerable. Thus, the aim was to explore experiences related to the COVID-19 pandemic among women in homelessness.

METHODS: Ten interviews were conducted with women in homelessness, in Stockholm, Sweden, using researcher-driven photo elicitation. The data analysis was guided by the DEPICT model for collaborative data analysis and a qualitative content analysis was performed. A collaborative reference group of women with lived experience of homelessness contributed to the research process through designing the data collection, performing the data analysis, and providing feedback during report writing.

RESULTS: For women in homelessness, the COVID-19 pandemic was adding insult to injury, as it significantly affected everyday life and permeated most aspects of existence, leading to diminished interactions with others and reduced societal support. Thus, in an already dire situation, the virus amplified health- and social issues to another level. The women strived to find their balance on the shifting sands of guidelines and restrictions due to the pandemic. Adhering to the new social distancing rules and guidelines in line with the rest of society, was simply impossible when experiencing homelessness. However, for some women the pandemic was nothing but a storm in a teacup. The harsh reality continued irrespectively, living one day at a time and prioritizing provision for basic human needs.

CONCLUSIONS: The COVID-19 pandemic and homelessness can be viewed as two intersecting crises. However, the women's aggregated experiences were greater than the sum of experiencing homelessness and meeting the threat of the virus. Gender, exposure to violence, poverty, social isolation, and substance use were additional factors that further marginalized the women during the pandemic. To rebuild a better and more sustainable post-pandemic future for all, global commitment to ending homelessness is crucial. In addition, addressing social determinants of health must be the number one health intervention.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2023. Vol. 23, no 11
Keywords [en]
COVID-19 pandemic, Homelessness, Inclusion health, Public involvement, Qualitative, Women
National Category
Nursing Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:esh:diva-10001DOI: 10.1186/s12905-023-02157-xISI: 000912027800003PubMedID: 36627642OAI: oai:DiVA.org:esh-10001DiVA, id: diva2:1725617
Part of project
Inclusion health for women in homelessness - development, feasibility and implementation of interventions, Forte, Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare, Swedish Research Council
Note

In collaboration with: Women Advisory Board for Inclusion Health. Ersta Möjlighet, Stockholm, Sweden.

Available from: 2023-01-11 Created: 2023-01-11 Last updated: 2024-02-09Bibliographically approved

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Mattsson, ElisabetKneck, ÅsaKlarare, Anna

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