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The efficacy of the Geriatric Model of Care in emergency housing programs for homeless Veterans

J. Knapp, J. Betancur, C. Nabors, F. Pascual
Med Care

Introduction: The aging homeless population currently makes up half the general homeless population. However, there are few homeless emergency shelters that can address their needs. This results in an overutilization of inpatient admissions and emergency room services. Methods: Homeless service staff from VA Palo Alto Health Care System partnered with a local homeless emergency housing provider, Compassion Residio Services Inc., to implement this new model of care for aging, medically fragile homeless Veterans. This emergency housing model utilizes practices done in geriatric settings. This model aimed to help decrease the utilization of emergency departments and inpatient admissions. Results: The average cost of emergency department visits and inpatient admissions was $127,314 per Veteran 6 months before admission. Six months after discharge, the average cost of treatment from emergency department visits and inpatient admissions was roughly $59,546 after discharge, a 53% decrease. Emergency department visits decreased from an average of 5.6 visits per Veteran 6 months before admission to 2.65 visits after 6 months discharge. The number of inpatient nights decreased from an average of 15 days per admission in the 6 months before the program to 13 days. Total admissions decreased by nearly half from 48 the previous 6 months to 25 after 6 months. Discussion: Overall, as residents settled into stable environments tailored around geriatric care, the utilization of emergency department visits and inpatient services decreased. Furthermore, the complexity (eg, cost per encounter) also decreased.

Knapp J, Betancur J, Nabors C, Pascual F. The efficacy of the Geriatric Model of Care in emergency gousing programs for homeless Veterans. Med Care. 2021 Apr 1;59(Suppl 2):S154-S157. doi: 10.1097/MLR.0000000000001438. PMID: 33710088.

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Publication year
Resource type
Peer Reviewed Research
Outcomes
Utilization
Cost
Population
Homeless
Veterans
Social Determinant of Health
Housing Stability
Study design
Pre-post without Comparison Group