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Publication Detail
Hospital-based preventative interventions for people experiencing homelessness in high-income countries: A systematic review
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Authors:
    Luchenski SA, Dawes J, Aldridge RW, Stevenson F, Tariq S, Hewett N, Hayward AC
  • Publisher:
    Elsevier BV
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  • Keywords:
    Homeless persons, Prevention, Hospital, Social determinants of health, Multicomponent interventions, Health inequalities
  • Notes:
    © 2022 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)
BACKGROUND: People experiencing homelessness have significant unmet needs and high rates of unplanned care. We aimed to describe preventative interventions, defined in their broadest sense, for people experiencing homelessness in a hospital context. Secondary aims included mapping outcomes and assessing intervention effectiveness. METHODS: We searched online databases (MEDLINE, Embase, PsycINFO, HMIC, CINAHL, Web of Science, Cochrane Library) from 1999–2019 and conducted backward and forward citation searches to 31 December 2020 (PROSPERO CRD42019154036). We included quantitative studies in emergency and inpatient settings measuring health or social outcomes for adults experiencing homelessness in high income countries. We assessed rigour using the “Quality Assessment Tool for Quantitative Studies” and summarised findings using descriptive quantitative methods, a binomial test, a Harvest Plot, and narrative synthesis. We used PRISMA and SWiM reporting guidelines. FINDINGS: Twenty-eight studies identified eight intervention types: care coordination (n=18); advocacy, support, and outreach (n=13); social welfare assistance (n=13); discharge planning (n=12); homelessness identification (n=6); psychological therapy and treatment (n=6); infectious disease prevention (n=5); and screening, treatment, and referrals (n=5). The evidence strength was weak (n=16) to moderate (n=10), with two high quality randomised controlled trials. We identified six outcome categories with potential benefits observed for psychosocial outcomes, including housing (11/13 studies, 95%CI=54.6–98.1%, p=0.023), healthcare use (14/17, 56.6–96.2%, p=0.013), and healthcare costs (8/8, 63.1–100%, p=0.008). Benefits were less likely for health outcomes (4/5, 28.3–99.5%, p=0.375), integration with onward care (2/4, 6.8–93.2%, p=1.000), and feasibility/acceptability (5/6, 35.9–99.6%, p=0.219), but confidence intervals were very wide. We observed no harms. Most studies showing potential benefits were multi-component interventions. INTERPRETATION: Hospital-based preventative interventions for people experiencing homelessness are potentially beneficial, but more rigorous research is needed. In the context of high needs and extreme inequities, policymakers and healthcare providers may consider implementing multi-component preventative interventions. FUNDING: SL is supported by an NIHR Clinical Doctoral Research Fellowship (ICA-CDRF-2016-02-042). JD is supported by an NIHR School of Public Health Research Pre-doctoral Fellowship (NU-004252). RWA is supported by a Wellcome Clinical Research Career Development Fellowship (206602).
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