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Access to Health Support Key to Lower Hospitalization Rates

Older residents who live near services are one-third less likely to be admitted

Doctor and patient reviewing test results in a assisted living facility

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Older adults who have easy access to and use supportive services tend to experience lower hospitalization rates as well as less time spent in the hospital, a study has found.

The research, published in the October issue of Health Affairs, compared Medicare statistics for residents living in affordable housing communities who were provided such access with those who were not.

The former group reported substantially better outcomes, at least in terms of hospitalization.

Among the findings:

  • Hospitalization rates were 32 percent lower.
  • For those who were hospitalized, the length of stay was one day shorter.

Among the support services provided as part of the study: psychological assessments, health education, wellness programs, socialization, and educational programs to treat and control chronic disease. Telehealth services to check on vital signs were also available.

The program stemmed from an Obama administration Department of Housing and Urban Development initiative promoting “health in all policies.” Past studies have demonstrated that linking affordable housing to support services “allows older people to remain in their homes … and may improve their ability to access health and social services.”

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