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Disparities in diabetes processes of care among people experiencing homelessness: an opportunity for intervention


Aims — To compare processes of diabetes care by homeless status.

Methods — A population-based propensity matched cohort study was conducted in Ontario, Canada. People with diabetes were identified in administrative healthcare data between April 2006 and March 2019. Those with a documented history of homelessness were matched to non-homeless controls. Data on processes of care measures included glucose monitoring tests, screening for microvascular complications, and physician follow-up. Differences in processes of care were compared by homeless status using proportions, risk ratios, and rate ratios.

Results — Of the 1,076,437 people with diabetes, 5219 matched pairs were identified. Homelessness was associated with fewer tests for glycated hemoglobin (RR = 0.63; 95 %CI: 0.60-0.67), LDL cholesterol (RR = 0.80; 95 %CI: 0.78-0.82), serum creatinine (RR = 0.94; 95 %CI: 0.92-0.97), urine protein quantification (RR = 0.62; 95 %CI: 0.59-0.66), and eye examinations (RR = 0.74; 95 %CI: 0.71-0.77). People with a history of homelessness were less likely to use primary care for diabetes management (RR = 0.62; 95 %CI: 0.59-0.66) or specialist care (RR = 0.87; 95 %CI: 0.83-0.91) compared to non-homeless controls.

Conclusions — Disparities in diabetes care are evident for people with a history of homelessness and contribute to excess morbidity in this population. These data provide an impetus for investment in tailored interventions to improve healthcare equity and prevent long-term complications.



Wiens K, Bai L, Hwang SW, Ronksley PE, Austin PC, Booth GL, Spackman E, Campbell DJT. Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 2024; 213:111748. Epub 2024 Jun 15.

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