How do Women Leaving Prison in Australia Manage Their Health? An Integrative Literature Review
Women leaving prison in Australia experience limited transitional health care and social support which leaves them vulnerable to preventable illness, injury, and death in the community. Many women are victims of violence from a very young age and are homeless, unemployed and engaged in harmful behaviours to cope. These women are at high risk of missed and fragmented care as they disengage from health services and do not follow up with health care appointments or medications once released from prison.
Design. An integrative review of available Australian peer reviewed literature was conducted to understand the barriers to optimal health care for women, and to inform a model of nursing that would provide continuity of care for women with a diagnosed health condition, post release.
Methods. Using Whittemore and Knafl’s integrative review framework as a guide to data analysis and evaluation provided the wide range of concepts relating to barriers and enablers facing women leaving prison. Further, the framework provided the ability to review theories and provided evidence for policymakers to view women leaving prison as a vulnerable group who would benefit from transitional nursing care support.
Conclusion. Women released from prison are at high risk of preventative death and subsequent reincarceration due to cumulative disadvantage. The limited Australian literature evidenced the women’s unmet health needs and uncovered the barriers they face in maintaining their health and wellness after a period of incarceration. The review findings support the need for a Nurse Navigator model of care management to provide individualised care management, and promote health and systems literacy, specifically to this group of women.
Correspondence to D. Bloice Central Queensland University, Townsville, Queensland, Australia 4810. E-mail: Donna-Marie.Bloice@cqumail.com