The economic case for hospital discharge services for people experiencing homelessness in England: An in‐depth analysis with different service configurations providing specialist care
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There are long-standing concerns that people experiencing homelessness may not recover well if left unsupported after a hospital stay. This study reports on a study investigating the cost-effectiveness of three different 'in patient care coordination and discharge planning' configurations for adults experiencing homelessness who are discharged from hospitals in England. The first configuration provided a clinical and housing in-reach service during acute care and discharge coordination but with no 'step-down' care. The second configuration provided clinical and housing in-reach, discharge coordination and 'step-down' intermediate care. The third configuration consisted of housing support workers providing in-reach and discharge coordination as well as step-down care. These three configurations were each compared with 'standard care' (control, defined as one visit by the homelessness health nurse before discharge during which patients received an information leaflet on local services). Multiple sources of data and multi-outcome measures were adopted to assess the cost utility of hospital discharge service delivery for the NHS and broader public perspective. Details of 354 participants were collated on service delivery costs (salary, on-costs, capital, overheads and 'hotel' costs, advertising and other indirect costs), the economic consequences for different public services (e.g. NHS, social care, criminal justice, housing, etc.) and health utilities (quality-adjusted-life-years, QALYs). Findings were complex across the configurations, but, on the whole, there was promising evidence suggesting that, with delivery costs similar to those reported for bed-based intermediate care, step-down care secured better health outcomes and improved cost-effectiveness (compared with usual care) within NICE cost-effectiveness recommendations.
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