Emergency Care for Homeless Patients: A French Multicenter Cohort Study

The objective of this study was to determine whether homeless patients experience suboptimal care in the emergency department (ED) by the provision of fewer health care resources.

Researchers conducted a prospective multicenter cohort study in 30 EDs in France. During 72 hours in March 2015, all homeless patients that visited the participating EDs were included in the study. The primary health care service measure was the order by the physician of a diagnostic investigation or provision of a treatment in the ED. Secondary measures of health care services included ED waiting time, number and type of investigations per patient, treatment in the ED, and discharge disposition.

A total of 254 homeless patients and 254 nonhomeless patients were included. After excluding homeless patients that attended the ED for the sole purpose of housing, researchers analyzed 214 homeless and 214 nonhomeless. The study found no significant difference between the 2 groups in terms of health care resource consumption, and for our secondary endpoints.

The study did not find significant differences in the level of medical care delivered in French EDs to homeless patients compared with matched nonhomeless patients.

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Research and Practice