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Study finds elderly housing with supportive social services reduces costly hospital use

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The study out of Rutgers University suggests continued investment in housing featuring supportive social services can reduce hospital stays and decrease spending for older adults.
The study out of Rutgers University suggests continued investment in housing featuring supportive social services can reduce hospital stays and decrease spending for older adults. - ()

Investing in affordable housing that offers supportive social services to senior citizens on Medicare could lead to a reduction in hospital admissions and the amount of time patients need inpatient hospital care by better managing chronic health conditions, according to a Rutgers University study.

The study was published in the current issue of the journal Health Affairs. 

In a prepared statement, Rutgers said that the research, led by Michael Gusmano an associate professor of health policy at Rutgers School of Public Health and member of the Rutgers Institute for Health, Health Care Policy and Aging Research, examined whether a program provided to elderly Medicare beneficiaries through a nonprofit, community-based group in Queens, N.Y., would reduce hospital use, including hospital discharges for ambulatory care-sensitive conditions that, if managed well, should not require admission to a hospital.

According to the statement, Gusmano’s research showed that discharge rates and length of hospital stays were lower in Medicare beneficiaries who lived in the housing environment that offered supportive social services, as compared to seniors in the same neighborhood living without these amenities. The data suggests that continued investment into housing with supportive social services can reduce costly hospital stays and decrease spending for vulnerable older adults, he said.

“These findings are consistent with the claim that housing programs of this sort help people stay healthy and, perhaps more importantly, help them receive health and social services that allow them to manage their chronic conditions.” Gusmano said in a statement. “By receiving timely and appropriate support in the community this vulnerable population may be able to avoid hospitalization or at least use it less often.”

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Anthony Vecchione

Anthony Vecchione covers health care for NJBIZ. You can contact him at: Avecchione@njbiz.com.

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