Homeless People's Perceptions of Welcomeness and Unwelcomness in Healthcare Encounters

This study looked at how homeless persons experienced "welcomeness" and "unwelcomeness" in past encounters with health care providers, and describes their experiences. Seventeen interviews were done with homeless men and women, aged 29-62 years, residing at 5 shelters in Toronto, Canada. Most perceived their experiences of unwelcomeness as acts of discrimination. The study goes on to explain that homelessness and low social class was the main reason they felt discriminated by health care providers.
Many reported intense emotional responses to unwelcoming experiences, which prevents them from seeking health care. Homeless people's perceptions of welcomeness and unwelcomeness are an important aspect of their encounters with health care providers. Buber's "I-It" and "I-You" concepts are potentially useful aids to health care providers who wish to understand how welcoming and unwelcoming interactions are fostered. (adapted from PubMed Abstract)

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Journal of General Internal Medicine