Hospitalized Younger: A Comparison of a National Sample of Homeless and Housed Inpatient Veterans

University of Colorado/Denver Health Division of General Internal Medicine, USA.
Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved (Impact Factor: 1.1). 03/2007; 18(1):173-84. DOI: 10.1353/hpu.2007.0000
Source: PubMed


Homelessness is associated with high rates of hospitalizations and age-adjusted mortality. Few studies have examined whether homeless people are admitted to the hospital at an earlier age than the general population or for different diagnoses.
We compared the age at admission and the primary discharge diagnoses in a national sample of 43,868 hospitalized veterans.
The difference in median age between homeless and housed inpatients ranged from 10-18 years for medical-surgical diagnoses and 3-4 years for psychiatric and substance abuse diagnoses (p#.005 for all diagnoses). Homeless veterans were more likely to have been admitted for psychiatric and substance abuse diagnoses (79.9%), compared with housed veterans (29.1%).
Substance abuse and psychiatric illness account for the majority of admissions among homeless veterans. Among all diagnostic groups, homeless people were admitted at younger ages. Our findings suggest that homeless people have either a more rapid disease course, leading to earlier morbidity, or lower admission threshholds sufficient to generate hospital admission.

1 Follower
8 Reads
  • Source
    • "Homeless Veterans who report MST likely experience a significant mental health burden, beyond even the high rates of mental health conditions known to exist among homeless individuals.9–11 Few studies have examined the nature and extent of mental health conditions among homeless Veterans who report MST. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Military sexual trauma (MST) is the Veteran Health Administration's (VHA) term for sexual assault and/or sexual harassment that occurs during military service. The experience of MST is associated with a variety of mental health conditions. Preliminary research suggests that MST may be associated with homelessness among female Veterans, although to date MST has not been examined in a national study of both female and male homeless Veterans. To estimate the prevalence of MST, examine the association between MST and mental health conditions, and describe mental health utilization among homeless women and men. National, cross-sectional study of 126,598 homeless Veterans who used VHA outpatient care in fiscal year 2010. All variables were obtained from VHA administrative databases, including MST screening status, ICD-9-CM codes to determine mental health diagnoses, and VHA utilization. Of homeless Veterans in VHA, 39.7 % of females and 3.3 % of males experienced MST. Homeless Veterans who experienced MST demonstrated a significantly higher likelihood of almost all mental health conditions examined as compared to other homeless women and men, including depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, other anxiety disorders, substance use disorders, bipolar disorders, personality disorders, suicide, and, among men only, schizophrenia and psychotic disorders. Nearly all homeless Veterans had at least one mental health visit and Veterans who experienced MST utilized significantly more mental health visits compared to Veterans who did not experience MST. A substantial proportion of homeless Veterans using VHA services have experienced MST, and those who experienced MST had increased odds of mental health diagnoses. Homeless Veterans who had experienced MST had higher intensity of mental health care utilization and high rates of MST-related mental health care. This study highlights the importance of trauma-informed care among homeless Veterans and the success of VHA homeless programs in providing mental health care to homeless Veterans.
    Journal of General Internal Medicine 07/2013; 28 Suppl 2(Suppl 2):536-41. DOI:10.1007/s11606-013-2341-4 · 3.42 Impact Factor
  • Source

    The Lancet 04/2008; 371(9618):1053-5. DOI:10.1016/S0140-6736(08)60465-1 · 45.22 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Homelessness is associated with increased risks of mortality but it has not previously been possible to distinguish whether this is typical of other socio-economically deprived populations, the result of a higher prevalence of morbidity or an independent risk of homelessness itself. The aim of this study was to describe mortality among a cohort of homeless adults and adjust for the effects of morbidity and socio-economic deprivation. Retrospective 5-year study of two fixed cohorts, homeless adults and an age- and sex-matched random sample of the local non-homeless population in Greater Glasgow National Health Service Board area for comparison. Over 5 years of observation, 1.7% (209/12 451) of the general population and 7.2% (457/6323) of the homeless cohort died. The hazard ratio of all-cause mortality in homeless compared with non-homeless cohorts was 4.4 (95% CI: 3.8-5.2). After adjustment for age, sex and previous hospitalization, homelessness was associated with an all-cause mortality hazard ratio of 1.6 (95% CI: 1.3-1.9). Homelessness had differential effects on cause-specific mortality. Among patients who had been hospitalized for drug-related conditions, the homeless cohort experienced a 7-fold increase in risk of death from drugs compared with the general population. Homelessness is an independent risk factor for deaths from specific causes. Preventive programmes might be most effectively targeted at the homeless with these conditions.
    International Journal of Epidemiology 04/2009; 38(3):877-83. DOI:10.1093/ije/dyp160 · 9.18 Impact Factor
Show more