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J Am Geriatr Soc. 2018 Jul;66(6):1068-1074. doi: 10.1111/jgs.15417. Epub 2018 May 9.

Advance Care Planning for Older Homeless-Experienced Adults: Results from the Health Outcomes of People Experiencing Homelessness in Older Middle Age Study.

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Division of Geriatrics, Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, California.
Center for Vulnerable Populations, Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center, San Francisco, California Center; University of California, San Francisco, California.
San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center, San Francisco, California.
Weill Cornell Medical College, Cornell University, New York, New York.
Department of Medicine, Division of General Internal Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, Zuckerberg San Francisco General, San Francisco, California.


Older homeless-experienced adults have low engagement in advance care planning (ACP) despite high morbidity and mortality. We conducted a cross-sectional analysis of a cohort of 350 homeless-experienced adults aged 50 and older in Oakland, California. We assessed the prevalence of potential surrogate decision-makers, ACP contemplation, discussions, and ACP documentation (surrogate designation, advance directives). We used multivariable logistic regression to examine factors associated with ACP discussions and documentation. The median age of the cohort was 59 (range 52-82), 75.2% were male, and 82.1% were black. Sixty-one percent reported a potential surrogate, 21.5% had discussed ACP, and 19.0% reported ACP documentation. In multivariable models, having 1 to 5 confidants versus none (adjusted odds ratio (aOR)=5.8, 95% confidence interval (CI)=1.7-20.0), 3 or more chronic conditions versus none (aOR=2.3, 95% CI=0.9-5.6), and a recent primary care visit (aOR=2.1, 95% CI=1.0-4.4) were associated with higher odds of ACP discussions and each additional 5 years of homelessness (aOR=0.7, 95% CI=0.5-0.9) with lower odds. Having 1 to 5 confidants (aOR=5.0, 95% CI=1.4-17.5), being black (aOR=5.5, 95% CI=1.5-19.5), and having adequate versus limited literacy (aOR=7.0, 95% CI=1.5-32.4) were associated with higher odds of ACP documentation and illicit drug use (aOR=0.3, 95% CI=0.1-0.9) with lower odds. Although the majority of older homeless-experienced adults have a potential surrogate, few have discussed or documented their ACP wishes; the odds of both were greater with larger social networks. Future interventions must be customized for individuals with limited social networks and address the instability of homelessness, health literacy, and the constraints of safety-net healthcare settings.


advance care planning; homelessness

[Available on 2019-07-01]

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