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Continuity of Care among People Experiencing Homelessness and Mental Illness: Does Community Followup Reduce Rehospitalization?

Objective: To examine whether timely outpatient followup after hospital discharge reduces the risk of subsequent rehospitalization among people experiencing homelessness and mental illness.

Data Sources: Comprehensive linked administrative data including hospital admissions, laboratory services, and community medical services.

Study Design: Participants were recruited to the Vancouver At Home study based on apriori criteria for homelessness and mental illness (n = 497). Logistic regression analysis was used to assess the relationship between outpatient care within 7 days postdischarge and subsequent rehospitalization over a 1year period.

Data Extraction: Data were extracted for a consenting subsample of participants (n = 433) spanning 5 years prior to study enrollment.

Principal Findings: More than half of the eligible sample (53 percent; n = 128) were rehospitalized within 1 year following an index hospital discharge. Neither outpatient medical services nor laboratory services within 7 days following discharge were associated with a significantly reduced likelihood of rehospitalization within 2 months (AOR = 1.17 [CI = 0.94, 1.46]), 6 months (AOR = 1.00 [CI = 0.82, 1.23]) or 12 months (AOR = 1.24 [CI = 1.02, 1.52]).

Conclusions: In contrast to evidence from nonhomeless samples, we found no association between timely outpatient followup and the likelihood of rehospitalization in our homeless, mentally ill cohort. Our findings indicate a need to address housing as an essential component of discharge planning alongside outpatient care.

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