Psychosocial Aspects of Health Care

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Dawn has been assigned to volunteer in a shelter for homeless women, located in the inner city. Having grown up in an affluent suburban neighborhood, she is very uncomfortable taking the bus into the city and is somewhat afraid of the clients. Although she is unaware of their medical status, several appear to her to have some form of mental illness, while others appear to be drug-or alcohol dependent. Many do not speak English. Dawn is expected to spend 3 hours each week assisting the nursing staff and serving the clients. Her role includes monitoring vital signs, preparing and serving meals, discussing the importance of diet and exercise and other healthy behaviors, and spending time talking with the women. 1. Discuss Dawn's possible preconceived biases and how she may have internalized these values.
2. What can Dawn do to modify her beliefs and values to reduce her biases?
3. Stigma is a large obstacle for people perceived to be out of the mainstream, such as the women in this shelter. Identify how stereotypes and biases can create barriers to care.
4. What can health care providers do to eliminate barriers to cafe for stigmatized populations?

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