Mental Health and Substance Abuse Drive Hospitalizations Among Homeless

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Rishi Wadhera, MD  Cardiology Fellow Brigham and Women's Hospital Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Wadhera

Dr. Rishi Wadhera, MD 
Cardiology Fellow
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Harvard Medical School.

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: In the United States, an estimated half a million people are homeless on any given night. In recent years, policy efforts to improve the health of homeless individuals have intensified, but there is little large-scale, contemporary data on how these efforts have impacted patterns of acute illness in this vulnerable population.

In this study, we examined trends, causes, and outcomes of hospitalizations among homeless individuals in three states – Massachusetts, Florida, and California – from 2007 to 2013. We found that hospitalization rates among homeless adults increased over this period of time.

Strikingly, over one-half of these hospitalizations were for mental illness and substance use disorder. More broadly, homeless adults were hospitalized for a very different set of reasons compared with demographically similar non-homeless adults. In addition, homeless individuals had longer lengths of hospitalization but lower total costs per hospitalization.

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Teaching Hospitals See Largest Number of Homeless Emergency Room Patients

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Ruirui Sun, Ph.D. AHRQ

Dr. Sun

Ruirui Sun, Ph.D.
AHRQ

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Homeless people are more likely than the members of the general public to use emergency department (ED) services, and it is usually at teaching hospitals when they seek medical care (Kushel et al., 2001; Bowdler and Barrell, 1987). This Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) Statistical Brief studies patient characteristics, insurance coverage and clinical profile of the ED visits among homeless individuals by hospital teaching status, during 2014 from eight States (AZ, FL, GA, MA, MD, MO, NY, and WI).

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Homeless Men: Association with High Rate of Prior Brain Injury

Jane Topolovec-Vranic, PhD Clinical Researcher, Trauma and Neurosurgery Program Associate Scientist, Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute Assistant Professor, Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, University of Toronto Associate Member, Graduate Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Toronto MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Jane Topolovec-Vranic, PhD
Clinical Researcher, Trauma and Neurosurgery Program
Assistant Professor, Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, University of Toronto
Associate Member, Graduate Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Toronto

MedicalResearch.com What are the main findings of the study?

Answer: In our study we found that almost half of the men interviewed in a homeless shelter in Toronto had experienced a traumatic brain injury in their past, and that most of them had experienced their first brain injury prior to becoming homeless, usually in the early teenage years.
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