Healthcare Policy

Healthcare Policy 16(1) August 2020 : 14-21.doi:10.12927/hcpol.2020.26294
Discussion And Debate

Hospital Discharge Planning for People Experiencing Homelessness Leaving Acute Care: A Neglected Issue

Jesse Jenkinson, Adam Wheeler, Claudia Wong and Louisa Mussells Pires

Abstract

People experiencing homelessness have worse health outcomes than the general population and limited access to primary/preventative healthcare. This leads to high hospital readmission rates. Effective discharge planning can improve recovery rates and reduce hospital costs. However, most hospital discharge policies and best practice guidelines are not tailored to patients with no fixed address, contributing to inappropriate discharges and health inequities for people experiencing homelessness. We discuss the lack of discharge policies, identifiable processes or plans specifically tailored to this population as a healthcare and policy gap, and we identify key areas for better understanding and addressing this issue.

 

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