Unstable Housing Tied to Increased Diabetes-related ER Visits

A new study based on data from the 2014 Health Center Patient Survey has found that unstable housing situations was associated with a higher risk of diabetes-related emergency department visits or inpatient hospitalization. About 37 percent of those in the study were defined as having unstable housing.

Unstable housing, for the study, was defined as not having enough money to pay rent or mortgage, moving two or more times in the past 12 months, or staying in housing one does not own or rent. The study's representative sample would equate to this defining about 3.2 million adults with diabetes across the United States.

Clinical help with housing situations is relatively rare.

The study included 1,087 participants. 13.7 percent of those participating reported a diabetes-related emergency department visit or hospitalization in the previous 12 months. After adjusting for other potential confounders, the study's authors still found that the odds of hospitalization or ER visits were far higher when the diabetic was also in an unstable housing situation.

"Unstable housing is common and associated with increased risk of diabetes-related emergency department and inpatient use," the authors write. "Addressing unstable housing in clinical settings may help improve health care utilization for vulnerable individuals with diabetes."

Of those receiving clinical care for their diabetes, only 0.9 percent were also given housing assistance through clinical referral. One study author did disclose loose financial ties to a homeless charity.

Source: MedicalXpress.com

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