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Housing is an essential part of health care-"Treat 'em and house 'em"

J.A. Barocas, E.K. Choo
JAMA Netw Open

People experiencing homelessness bear a disproportionate burden of chronic illnesses and are unable to consistently practice social isolation; unsurprisingly, they have been disproportionately affected by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Studies from the early months of the pandemic in the United States demonstrated infection rates and, in some places, hospitalization rates in this population that were substantially higher than in those with stable housing. Like many social predicaments, homelessness is generally treated by health systems as unfortunate but ignorable; patients without homes are discharged to the street if their medical needs do not require immediate hospitalization. But the COVID-19 pandemic has made homelessness unignorable and brought the responsibility for housing squarely into the hands of health practitioners; patients experiencing homelessness who are diagnosed with or under investigation for COVID-19 may not meet inpatient or observation criteria, but they may spread the virus to others if discharged from the hospital.

Barocas JA, Choo EK. Housing is an essential part of health care-"Treat 'em and house 'em". JAMA Netw Open. 2021 Mar 1;4(3):e210635. doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.0635. PMID: 33651106

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Commentaries & Blogs
Social Determinant of Health
Housing Quality
Housing Stability