HealthDay News — Unstable housing is associated with an increased likelihood of diabetes-related emergency department visits and hospitalization, according to a study published online in Diabetes Care.

Seth A. Berkowitz, MD, from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and colleagues used data from the nationally representative 2014 Health Center Patient Survey to examine whether unstable housing — defined as not having enough money to pay rent or mortgage, moving 2 or more times in the past 12 months, or staying at a place one does not own or rent — was associated with risk for diabetes-related emergency department visit or inpatient hospitalization.

Overall, 37% of the 1087 participants, representing 3,277,165 adults with diabetes, were unstably housed.

The researchers found that 13.7% of participants reported a diabetes-related emergency department visit or hospitalization in the previous 12 months. Unstable housing was correlated with increased odds of diabetes-related emergency department use or hospitalization after adjustment for multiple potential confounders (adjusted odds ratio, 5.17). Help with housing was provided through a clinic to only 0.9% of those with unstable housing.

“Unstable housing is common and associated with increased risk of diabetes-related emergency department and inpatient use,” the authors write. “Addressing unstable housing in clinical settings may help improve health care utilization for vulnerable individuals with diabetes.”

One author disclosed financial ties to UpToDate for writing a topic review relating to providing health care to homeless people.

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Berkowitz SA, Kalkhoran S, Edwards ST, Essien UR, Baggett TP. Unstable housing and diabetes-related emergency department visits and hospitalization: a nationally representative study of safety-net clinic patients [published online January 4, 2018]. Diabetes Care. doi: 10.2337/dc17-1812