Skip to main content
eScholarship
Open Access Publications from the University of California

Open Access Policy Deposits

This series is automatically populated with publications deposited by UCSF Department of Emergency Medicine researchers in accordance with the University of California’s open access policies. For more information see Open Access Policy Deposits and the UC Publication Management System.

Cover page of Factors Associated with Incarceration in Older Adults Experiencing Homelessness: Results from the HOPE HOME Study.

Factors Associated with Incarceration in Older Adults Experiencing Homelessness: Results from the HOPE HOME Study.

(2022)

Background

In the US, the median age of adults experiencing homelessness and incarceration is increasing. Little is known about risk factors for incarceration among older adults experiencing homelessness. To develop targeted interventions, there is a need to understand their risk factors for incarceration.

Objective

To examine the prevalence and risk factors associated with incarceration in a cohort of older adults experiencing homelessness.

Design

Prospective, longitudinal cohort study with interviews every 6 months for a median of 5.8 years.

Participants

We recruited adults ≥50 years old and homeless at baseline (n=433) via population-based sampling.

Main measures

Our dependent variable was incident incarceration, defined as one night in jail or prison per 6-month follow-up period after study enrollment. Independent variables included socioeconomic status, social, health, housing, and prior criminal justice involvement.

Key results

Participants had a median age of 58 years and were predominantly men (75%) and Black (80%). Seventy percent had at least one chronic medical condition, 12% reported heavy drinking, and 38% endorsed moderate-severe use of cocaine, 8% of amphetamines, and 7% of opioids. At baseline, 84% reported a lifetime history of jail stays; 37% reported prior prison stays. During follow-up, 23% spent time in jail or prison. In multivariable models, factors associated with a higher risk of incarceration included the following: having 6 or more confidants (HR=2.13, 95% CI=1.2-3.7, p=0.007), remaining homeless (HR=1.72, 95% CI=1.1-2.8, p=0.02), heavy drinking (HR=2.05, 95% CI=1.4-3.0, p<0.001), moderate-severe amphetamine use (HR=1.89, 95% CI=1.2-3.0, p=0.006), and being on probation (HR=3.61, 95% CI=2.4-5.4, p<0.001) or parole (HR=3.02, 95% CI=1.5-5.9, p=0.001).

Conclusions

Older adults experiencing homelessness have a high risk of incarceration. There is a need for targeted interventions addressing substance use, homelessness, and reforming parole and probation in order to abate the high ongoing risk of incarceration among older adults experiencing homelessness.

COVID-19 Testing and Vaccine Acceptability Among Homeless-Experienced Adults: Qualitative Data from Two Samples.

(2022)

Background

Homeless-experienced populations are at increased risk of exposure to SARS-CoV-2 due to their living environments and face an increased risk of severe COVID-19 disease due to underlying health conditions. Little is known about COVID-19 testing and vaccination acceptability among homeless-experienced populations.

Objective

To understand the facilitators and barriers to COVID-19 testing and vaccine acceptability among homeless-experienced adults.

Design

We conducted in-depth interviews with participants from July to October 2020. We purposively recruited participants from (1) a longitudinal cohort of homeless-experienced older adults in Oakland, CA (n=37) and (2) a convenience sample of people (n=57) during a mobile outreach COVID-19 testing event in San Francisco.

Participants

Adults with current or past experience of homelessness.

Approach

We asked participants about their experiences with and attitudes towards COVID-19 testing and their perceptions of COVID-19 vaccinations. We used participant observation techniques to document the interactions between testing teams and those approached for testing. We audio-recorded, transcribed, and content analyzed all interviews and identified major themes and subthemes.

Key results

Participants found incentivized COVID-19 testing administered in unsheltered settings and supported by community health outreach workers (CHOWs) to be acceptable. The majority of participants expressed a positive inclination toward vaccine acceptability, citing a desire to return to routine life and civic responsibility. Those who expressed hesitancy cited a desire to see trial data, concerns that vaccines included infectious materials, and mistrust of the government.

Conclusions

Participants expressed positive evaluations of the incentivized, mobile COVID-19 testing supported by CHOWs in unsheltered settings. The majority of participants expressed a positive inclination toward vaccination. Vaccine hesitancy concerns must be addressed when designing vaccine delivery strategies that overcome access challenges. Based on the successful implementation of COVID-19 testing, we recommend mobile delivery of vaccines using trusted CHOWs to address concerns and facilitate wider access to and uptake of the COVID vaccine.

Caregiving Needs Are Unmet for Many Older Homeless Adults: Findings from the HOPE HOME Study.

(2022)

The homeless population is aging, with early onset of cognitive and functional impairments. It is unclear whether older homeless adults receive caregiving assistance that could prevent long-term disability. We describe characteristics of older homeless-experienced adults with caregiving need and determine factors associated with having unmet need. Cross-sectional analysis of a longitudinal study, Health Outcomes in People Experiencing Homelessness in Older Middle Age (HOPE HOME), examining health, life course events, and functional status among older homeless-experienced (i.e., currently and recently homeless) adults. We recruited 350 homeless adults (July 2013-June 2014) and an additional 100 (August 2017 to July 2018) in Oakland, California; this study includes 303 participants who completed caregiving interviews. We defined caregiving need as difficulty with activities of daily living (ADLs), instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs), falls, Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB) score < 10, or Modified Mini-Mental State (3MS) exam impairment. We defined unmet need as having caregiving need and reporting not receiving caregiving assistance in the last 6 months. Using logistic regression, we analyzed associations between respondent characteristics and unmet caregiving need. Among 303 participants, the mean age was 61.3 ± 5.0 years; 73% were men and 82% were Black. Eighty-one percent had caregiving needs, and in 82% of those, their caregiving needs were unmet. Better self-rated health (AOR 2.13, CI [1.02-4.46], p = 0.04) and being a man (AOR 2.30, CI [1.12-4.69], p = 0.02) were associated with higher odds of unmet need. Moderate or high-risk substance use (AOR 0.47, CI [0.23, 0.94], p = 0.03) was associated with lower odds of unmet need. Older homeless-experienced adults have high prevalence of unmet caregiving need. Interventions that increase caregiving access for homeless-experienced individuals may help avoid poor health outcomes and costly long-term-care needs due to untreated disabilities.

Implementation of rapid and frequent SARS-CoV2 antigen testing and response in congregate homeless shelters.

(2022)

Background

People experiencing homelessness who live in congregate shelters are at high risk of SARS-CoV2 transmission and severe COVID-19. Current screening and response protocols using rRT-PCR in homeless shelters are expensive, require specialized staff and have delays in returning results and implementing responses.

Methods

We piloted a program to offer frequent, rapid antigen-based tests (BinaxNOW) to residents and staff of congregate-living shelters in San Francisco, California, from January 15th to February 19th, 2021. We used the Reach-Effectiveness-Adoption-Implementation-Maintenance (RE-AIM) framework to evaluate the implementation.

Results

Reach: We offered testing at ten of twelve eligible shelters. Shelter residents and staff had variable participation across shelters; approximately half of eligible individuals tested at least once; few tested consistently during the study. Effectiveness: 2.2% of participants tested positive. We identified three outbreaks, but none exceeded 5 cases. All BinaxNOW-positive participants were isolated or left the shelters. Adoption: We offered testing to all eligible participants within weeks of the project's initiation. Implementation: Adaptations made to increase reach and improve consistency were promptly implemented. Maintenance: San Francisco Department of Public Health expanded and maintained testing with minimal support after the end of the pilot.

Conclusion

Rapid and frequent antigen testing for SARS-CoV2 in homeless shelters is a viable alternative to rRT-PCR testing that can lead to immediate isolation of infectious individuals. Using the RE-AIM framework, we evaluated and adapted interventions to enable the expansion and maintenance of protocols.

Cover page of Persistent Homelessness and Violent Victimization Among Older Adults in the HOPE HOME Study.

Persistent Homelessness and Violent Victimization Among Older Adults in the HOPE HOME Study.

(2021)

The homeless population is aging; older homeless adults may be at high risk of experiencing violent victimization. To examine whether homelessness is independently associated with experiencing physical and sexual abuse, we recruited 350 adults, aged 50 and older in Oakland, California, who met criteria for homelessness between July 2013 and June 2014. We interviewed participants at 6-month intervals for 3 years in Oakland about key variables, including housing status. Using generalized estimating equations, we examined whether persistent homelessness in each follow-up period was independently associated with having experienced physical or sexual victimization, after adjusting for known risk factors. The majority of the cohort was men (77.4%) and Black American (79.7%). At baseline, 10.6% had experienced either physical or sexual victimization in the prior 6 months. At 18-month follow-up, 42% of the cohort remained homeless. In adjusted models, persistent homelessness was associated with twice the odds of victimization (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 2.01; 95% confidence interval [CI]: [1.41, 2.87]). Older homeless adults experience high rates of victimization. Re-entering housing reduces this risk. Policymakers should recognize exposure to victimization as a negative consequence of homelessness that may be preventable by housing.

Coronavirus Disease 2019 Outbreak in a San Francisco Homeless Shelter.

(2021)

We report the public health response to a coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak in a San Francisco shelter where 67% of residents and 17% of staff tested positive for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). We describe the limited utility of case investigation, person-based contact tracing and symptom screening, and the benefits of mass testing in outbreak response.

Cover page of Comparison of infection control strategies to reduce COVID-19 outbreaks in homeless shelters in the United States: a simulation study.

Comparison of infection control strategies to reduce COVID-19 outbreaks in homeless shelters in the United States: a simulation study.

(2021)

Background

COVID-19 outbreaks have occurred in homeless shelters across the US, highlighting an urgent need to identify the most effective infection control strategy to prevent future outbreaks.

Methods

We developed a microsimulation model of SARS-CoV-2 transmission in a homeless shelter and calibrated it to data from cross-sectional polymerase chain reaction (PCR) surveys conducted during COVID-19 outbreaks in five homeless shelters in three US cities from March 28 to April 10, 2020. We estimated the probability of averting a COVID-19 outbreak when an exposed individual is introduced into a representative homeless shelter of 250 residents and 50 staff over 30 days under different infection control strategies, including daily symptom-based screening, twice-weekly PCR testing, and universal mask wearing.

Results

The proportion of PCR-positive residents and staff at the shelters with observed outbreaks ranged from 2.6 to 51.6%, which translated to the basic reproduction number (R0) estimates of 2.9-6.2. With moderate community incidence (~ 30 confirmed cases/1,000,000 people/day), the estimated probabilities of averting an outbreak in a low-risk (R0 = 1.5), moderate-risk (R0 = 2.9), and high-risk (R0 = 6.2) shelter were respectively 0.35, 0.13, and 0.04 for daily symptom-based screening; 0.53, 0.20, and 0.09 for twice-weekly PCR testing; 0.62, 0.27, and 0.08 for universal masking; and 0.74, 0.42, and 0.19 for these strategies in combination. The probability of averting an outbreak diminished with higher transmissibility (R0) within the simulated shelter and increasing incidence in the local community.

Conclusions

In high-risk homeless shelter environments and locations with high community incidence of COVID-19, even intensive infection control strategies (incorporating daily symptom screening, frequent PCR testing, and universal mask wearing) are unlikely to prevent outbreaks, suggesting a need for non-congregate housing arrangements for people experiencing homelessness. In lower-risk environments, combined interventions should be employed to reduce outbreak risk.

Cover page of Effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on medical students: a multicenter quantitative study.

Effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on medical students: a multicenter quantitative study.

(2021)

Background

The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the United States (US) medical education system with the necessary, yet unprecedented Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) national recommendation to pause all student clinical rotations with in-person patient care. This study is a quantitative analysis investigating the educational and psychological effects of the pandemic on US medical students and their reactions to the AAMC recommendation in order to inform medical education policy.

Methods

The authors sent a cross-sectional survey via email to medical students in their clinical training years at six medical schools during the initial peak phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. Survey questions aimed to evaluate students' perceptions of COVID-19's impact on medical education; ethical obligations during a pandemic; infection risk; anxiety and burnout; willingness and needed preparations to return to clinical rotations.

Results

Seven hundred forty-one (29.5%) students responded. Nearly all students (93.7%) were not involved in clinical rotations with in-person patient contact at the time the study was conducted. Reactions to being removed were mixed, with 75.8% feeling this was appropriate, 34.7% guilty, 33.5% disappointed, and 27.0% relieved. Most students (74.7%) agreed the pandemic had significantly disrupted their medical education, and believed they should continue with normal clinical rotations during this pandemic (61.3%). When asked if they would accept the risk of infection with COVID-19 if they returned to the clinical setting, 83.4% agreed. Students reported the pandemic had moderate effects on their stress and anxiety levels with 84.1% of respondents feeling at least somewhat anxious. Adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) (53.5%) was the most important factor to feel safe returning to clinical rotations, followed by adequate testing for infection (19.3%) and antibody testing (16.2%).

Conclusions

The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the education of US medical students in their clinical training years. The majority of students wanted to return to clinical rotations and were willing to accept the risk of COVID-19 infection. Students were most concerned with having enough PPE if allowed to return to clinical activities.

Cover page of Temporary stays with housed family and friends among older adults experiencing homelessness: Qualitative findings from the HOPE HOME study

Temporary stays with housed family and friends among older adults experiencing homelessness: Qualitative findings from the HOPE HOME study

(2021)

Background: The proportion of adults age 50 and older experiencing homelessness is growing. People at risk for homelessness may stay with family and friends during homelessness episodes. Moving in with housed family and friends is a strategy used to exit homelessness. Little is known about these stays with family and friends. This study examined the motivations for and challenges of older adults experiencing homelessness staying with or moving in with family or friends. Methods: We purposively sampled 46 participants from the HOPE HOME study, a cohort of 350 community-recruited adults experiencing homelessness age ≥50 in Oakland, CA. Inclusion criteria included having stayed with housed family/friends for ≥1 nights in the prior 6 months. We sampled 19 family/friends who had hosted participants experiencing homelessness. We conducted separate, semi-structured interviews, summarized, memoed and coded data consistent using a grounded theory approach. Results: Older adults experiencing homelessness reported primarily temporary stays. Motivations for stays on the part of participants included a need for environmental, physical, and emotional respite from homelessness. Both individuals experiencing homelessness and hosts cited the mutual benefits of stays. Barriers to stays included feelings of shame, concerns about burdening the hosts, and interpersonal conflicts between older adults experiencing homelessness and host participants. Conclusions: There are potential opportunities and concerns surrounding temporary stays between older adults experiencing homelessness and their family or friends. Policy solutions should support the potential mutual benefits of temporary stays, while addressing interpersonal barriers to strengthen kinship and friendship networks and mediate the negative impacts of homelessness.

Cover page of Barriers and Solutions to Advance Care Planning among Homeless-Experienced Older Adults.

Barriers and Solutions to Advance Care Planning among Homeless-Experienced Older Adults.

(2020)

Background/Objectives: Older homeless-experienced adults have low rates of advance care planning (ACP) engagement despite high rates of morbidity and mortality. To inform intervention development, we examined potential barriers and solutions to ACP engagement. Design: Cross-sectional qualitative study. Setting: We recruited adults who were homeless in the prior three years and ≥50 years of age in the San Francisco Bay Area, and recruited clinical stakeholders from a national meeting of homeless providers. We analyzed qualitative data using thematic analysis. Measurements: We conducted semistructured interviews with homeless-experienced older adults (n = 20) and focus groups with clinical stakeholders (n = 24) about perceived barriers and solutions to ACP engagement. Results: Participants considered ACP important, reflecting on deaths of people in their networks who had died. Participant-identified barriers to ACP included poor ACP knowledge, lack of familial ties and social isolation, competing priorities, avoidance and lack of readiness, fatalism and mistrust, and lack of ACP training for clinical and nonclinical staff. They identified solutions that included framing ACP as a way to provide meaning and assert choice, providing easy-to-read written documents focused on the populations' unique needs, tailoring content and delivery, initiating ACP in nonclinical settings, such as permanent supportive housing, and providing incentives. Conclusions: Both older homeless-experienced adults and clinical stakeholders believe that ACP is important, but acknowledge multiple barriers that impede engagement. By focusing on potential solutions, including capitalizing on opportunities outside of health care settings, focusing on the period after housing, and tailoring content, there are opportunities to improve ACP uptake.