A Retrospective Quasi-Experimental Study of a Transitional Housing Program for Patients with Severe and Persistent Mental Illness
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Transitional housing programs aim to improve living skills and housing stability for tenuously housed patients with mental illness. 113 consecutive Transitional Housing Team (THT) patients were matched to 139 controls on diagnosis, time of presentation, gender and prior psychiatric hospitalisation and compared using a difference-in-difference analysis for illness acuity and service use outcomes measured 1 year before and after THT entry/exit. There was a statistically significant difference-in-difference favouring THT participants for bed days (mean difference in difference −20.76 days, SE 9.59, p = 0.031) and living conditions (HoNOS Q11 mean difference in difference −0.93, SE 0.23, p < 0.001). THT cost less per participant (I$14,024) than the bed-days averted (I$17,348). The findings of reductions in bed days and improved living conditions suggest that transitional housing programs can have a significant positive impact for tenuously housed patients with high inpatient service usage, as well as saving costs for mental health services.
KeywordsMental health Service evaluation Homelessness Transitional housing
We would like to acknowledge the Queensland Directorate of Mental Health for access to de-identified data extracts and assistance in data linkage, Dr. Cathy Mihalopoulos for advice on economic analysis and the staff of the Transitional Housing Team.
Conflict of interest
The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.
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