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Provider Perspectives on Sleep as a Determinant of Health and Housing Outcomes among Veterans Experiencing Homelessness: An Exploratory, Social-Ecological Study.
Moore EM, Gelberg L, Soh M, Alessi C, Ijadi-Maghsoodi R. Provider Perspectives on Sleep as a Determinant of Health and Housing Outcomes among Veterans Experiencing Homelessness: An Exploratory, Social-Ecological Study. International journal of environmental research and public health. 2023 May 8; 20(9).
Sleep problems are common among United States (U.S.) veterans and are associated with poor health, mental health, and functioning. Yet, little is known about insufficient sleep and factors contributing to sleep disparities among veterans experiencing homelessness. We conducted semi-structured interviews to better understand the clinical, environmental, and structural factors contributing to insufficient sleep among veterans and to improve care for this population. Interviews were conducted with 13 providers caring for veterans experiencing homelessness, including physicians, psychologists, nurses, social workers, and peer support specialists. Providers worked at a West Coast VA institution serving a large population of veterans experiencing homelessness. Interviews were analyzed for themes pertaining to sleep using the social-ecological model as a framework. On an individual level, factors influencing sleep included psychiatric disorders and use of substances. On an interpersonal level, factors included safety concerns while sleeping. On an environmental level, factors included noise and proximity to others as barriers to sleep. On the organizational level, logistical issues scheduling sleep clinic appointments and lack of transportation to attend sleep clinic appointments were identified as treatment barriers. These findings can inform future research studying the impact of sleep on health and housing outcomes and interventions addressing sleep among veterans experiencing homelessness.