Development of a homelessness risk screening tool for emergency department patients
Health Serv Res
Objective: To develop a screening tool to identify emergency department (ED) patients at risk of entering a homeless shelter, which could inform targeting of interventions to prevent future homelessness episodes. Data Sources: Linked data from: 1) ED patient baseline questionnaires; and, 2) citywide administrative homeless shelter database. Study Design: Stakeholder-informed predictive modeling utilizing ED patient questionnaires linked with prospective shelter administrative data. The outcome was shelter entry documented in administrative data within 6 months following the baseline ED visit. Exposures were responses to questions on homelessness risk factors from baseline questionnaires. Data Collection/Extraction Methods: Research assistants completed questionnaires with randomly sampled ED patients who were medically stable, not in police/prison custody, and spoke English or Spanish. Questionnaires were linked to administrative data using deterministic and probabilistic matching. Principal Findings: Of 1,993 ED patients who were not homeless at baseline, 5.6% entered a shelter in the next 6 months. A screening tool consisting of two measures of past shelter use and one of past criminal justice involvement had 83.0% sensitivity and 20.4% positive predictive value for future shelter entry. Conclusions: Our study demonstrates the potential of using cross-sector data to improve hospital initiatives to address patients’ social needs.
Doran KM, Johns E, Zuiderveen S, et al. Development of a homelessness risk screening tool for emergency department patients. Health Serv Res. 2021 Oct 4. doi: 10.1111/1475-6773.13886. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34608999.