Covid Testing in the Homeless Population
Authors: Kelsey Carroll, Alanna Holtel, Kristi Hamil, Gia Huang
Faculty Supervisor: Nicole Masano, DNP, RN, CNM, CNE
Community Partner: Coastal Community Health Services, The Well
The purpose of our project was to provide free COVID testing to the homeless population in Brunswick, GA. We worked with Coastal Community Health Services to provide and administer the tests at The Well, which is a resource center for the homeless community in Brunswick. Our goal was to identify people who tested positive for COVID, and to identify and connect them to resources to support them throughout their illness. We found that more services are needed in Brunswick for the homeless community in addition to the services that Coastal Community Health Services and The Well already provide, including transportation, no/low-cost healthcare, food availability, and better housing options. These aspects of our project related to the Service-Learning outcomes by showing us how the homeless community in Brunswick functions, where they get resources, and what resources they do not have access to locally. We used problem-solving skills by connecting the COVID testing resources of Coastal Community Health Services to the Well, where the homeless community often goes to seek help. We demonstrated critical and creative thinking by using our mini-grant money to provide masks and hand sanitizer to the homeless people who got tested for COVID. Future implications for the project include further education for the homeless population about COVID, hopefully getting many of them vaccinated, and discussing ways to improve resources in Brunswick. The project impacted us by opening our eyes to the issue of homelessness in Brunswick, including the numbers of homeless persons, how they live, and where they get or do not get, the things they need. Providing this service to the people who chose to participate allowed them to become more educated about COVID and the resources available to them should they become ill.