Research: Supporting relocation to long-term care

January 06, 2020
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Dr. Tamara Sussman and colleagues have published an article exploring the challenges and opportunities associated with supporting older homeless persons’ relocations to long-term care in The Gerontologist. Check it out! https://doi.org/10.1093/geront/gnz171

Background and Objectives

This study sought to explore the challenges and opportunities associated with supporting older homeless persons’ relocations to long-term care (LTC) from the perspective of service providers. It aims to inform how to improve relocation processes for this vulnerable and growing subpopulation of older persons.

Research Design and Methods

This cross-sectional qualitative study employed semistructured face-to-face interviews with service providers from two Health and Social Service Centres in Montreal, Quebec. All interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim, and thematically analyzed in five stages.

Results

A total of eight service providers reported on their experiences supporting over 40 relocations of older homeless persons (50+) in the last year. According to participants, older homeless persons’ trajectories into LTC typically included a series of neglected medical issues followed by hospitalization and eventual relocation to LTC. Systemic barriers such as limited-time for proper planning, insufficient housing options for persons with minor functional limitations, disregard for preferred geographic location, multiple moves, and staff prejudices worked together to expedite premature relocation and challenge relocation processes.

Discussion and Implications

Older homeless persons appear to be at heightened risk of premature and challenging relocation processes. Expanding housing stock for persons with functional limitations, strengthening intersectoral collaborations, providing education and training to staff, and ensuring flexibility around rules and regulations in receiving LTC homes would both improve access to aging in place for this marginalized group of older persons and ensure conditions are in place to support positive relocations to LTC for those who require it.