Diabetes care and its predictors among persons experiencing homelessness compared with domiciled adults with diabetes in New York City; An observational study

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Journal Article

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BMI, body mass index; BP, blood pressure; CAD, coronary artery disease; CKD, chronic kidney disease; DM, diabetes mellitus; Diabetes mellitus; GFR, glomerular filtration rate; HTN, hypertension; HbA1c, hemoglobin A1c; Health disparities; Homeless; LDL, low density lipoprotein; PCP, primary care physician; Primary care; Quality care


Background: There is a dearth of data regarding diabetes control among patients experiencing homelessness. Methods: We retrospectively collected type 2 diabetes-related measurements, sociodemographic, and clinical indicators from medical records of all incoming adults with diabetes ( = 418; homeless: 356 and domiciled: 58) seen in shelter-clinics in New York City in 2019. The outcomes were the rates of inadequately managed diabetes and associated factors. Findings: Bivariate analysis showed that patients experiencing homelessness (63% Black; 32% Hispanic) 134/304 (43⋅9%) were more likely than domiciled patients 13/57 (22·8%) to have inadequately managed diabetes (OR 2⋅67, CI 1·38-5·16, = 0⋅003). The average HbA1c among homeless (8·4%, SD± 2·6) was higher than that of domiciled persons (7·3%, SD± 1·8, = 0·002). In logistic regression, domiciled status (OR 0⋅ 42, CI 0·21 - 0·84, = 0·013), older age (OR 0·97, CI 0·95 - 0·99, = 0·004), and non-Hispanic/Latino ethnicity were associated with well-managed diabetes. Among persons experiencing homelessness, non-Hispanic/Latino (OR 0·61, CI 0·37-0·99, = 0·047) and older age (0·96, CI 0·94-0·99, = 0·003) were associated with well-managed diabetes. In linear regression, mental illness (-0·11, = 0·048) and older age (-0·15, = 0·010) were associated with lower HbA1c, suggesting better support in respective shelters. There was no statistically significant association between inadequately managed diabetes with several traditional risk factors including substance or alcohol use disorder, health insurance, or other chronic diseases. Interpretation: Interventions at shelters or shelter-clinics should target subgroups in addition to addressing traditional risk factors to improve diabetes control. mHealth strategies could be considered to improve engagement, care delivery, and medication taking. Ultimately, homelessness itself needs to be addressed. Funding: There are no funding sources to declare.


Global Health