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  • Writer's pictureVijay Varma

SilverStay - Innovative Solutions for the Homeless

SilverStay works with thousands of patients being discharged from the health system each year to identify appropriate care and housing options. Many of these patients do not have assets, funds, or even the support of family members to lean on during such a significant transition. Additionally, some of these patients have also experienced homelessness and housing instability.

Finding a stable care setting for patients like these is a significant challenge across most major cities in the US; and the hospitals we work with are on the front lines. Many individuals who are homeless or having housing instability have chronic health conditions, substance abuse challenges, and mental health challenges that require daily supervision and support. These individuals often use hospitals for their healthcare needs; patients who experience homelessness visit emergency rooms 3 times more than patients with stable housing and stay 3 times longer.

In hospitals, the work to identify discharge solutions for these patients often falls on social workers who are overburdened and may not have resources and time to identify appropriate community housing and care options.

Some hospitals are exploring innovative solutions to solve these challenges. In New York City where hospitals cared for almost 50,000 homeless patients last year, NYC Health + Hospitals are collaborating with a behavioral health organization with expertise in finding and applying for public housing to help house 600 patients annually. In Vermont, the UV Medical Center purchased a hotel with 12 beds to house homeless patients who need additional short-term medical care post-discharge. Nation-wide there are other examples of permanent supportive housing (PSH) options currently being tested for homeless adults with chronic care needs.

SilverStay has partnered with hospitals in Baltimore City to develop an innovative model that connects homeless patients at the hospital with assisted living facilities (ALFs). This model quickly discharges homeless patients with significant short- and long-term care needs to ALFs that can provide a high quality of care at a cost well below the daily cost of a hospital stay. SilverStay has successfully transitioned hundreds of patients with housing instability, producing significant hospital cost savings, reduced Emergency Department utilization and 30-day readmissions, and reduced hospital length of stay (LOS).

Almost every urban hospital across the US is facing the challenge of how to manage the cost of care and service delivery for an aging homeless population. SilverStay is excited to be at the forefront of innovating in this area.

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