Association of Housing Status with Types of Operations and Post-Operative Healthcare Utilization

Ann Surg. 2023 May 26. doi: 10.1097/SLA.0000000000005917. Online ahead of print.


OBJECTIVE: To analyze the association between housing status and the nature of surgical care provided, healthcare utilization, and operational outcomes.

BACKGROUND: Unhoused patients have worse outcomes and higher healthcare utilization across multiple clinical domains. However, little has been published describing the burden of surgical disease in unhoused patients.

METHODS: We conducted a retrospective cohort study of 111,267 operations from 2013-2022 with housing status documented at a single, tertiary care institution. We conducted unadjusted bivariate and multivariate analyses adjusting for sociodemographic and clinical characteristics.

RESULTS: 998 operations (0.8%) were performed for unhoused patients, with a higher proportion of emergent operations than housed patients (56% vs. 22%). In unadjusted analysis, unhoused patients had longer length of stay (18.7 d vs. 8.7 d), higher readmissions (9.5% vs. 7.5%), higher in-hospital (2.9% vs. 1.8%) and one-year mortality (10.1% vs. 8.2%), more in-hospital re-operations (34.6% vs. 15.9%), and higher utilization of social work, physical therapy, and occupational therapy services. After adjusting for age, gender, comorbidities, insurance status, and indication for operation, as well as stratifying by emergent versus elective operation, these differences went away for emergent operations.

CONCLUSIONS: In this retrospective cohort analysis, unhoused patients more commonly underwent emergent operations than their housed counterparts and had more complex hospitalizations on an unadjusted basis that largely disappeared after adjustment for patient and operative characteristics. These findings suggest issues with upstream access to surgical care that, when unaddressed, may predispose this vulnerable population to more complex hospitalizations and worse longer-term outcomes.

PMID:37232943 | DOI:10.1097/SLA.0000000000005917

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