Why Hospitals Are Getting Into The Housing Business

October 4, 2019, Kaiser Health News, Markian Hawryluk -  One patient at Denver Health, the city’s largest safety net hospital, occupied a bed for more than four years - a hospital record of 1,558 days. Another admitted for a hard-to-treat bacterial infection needed eight weeks of at-home IV antibiotics, but had no home. A third, with dementia, came to the hospital after being released from the Denver County Jail. His family refused to take him back. In the first half of this year alone, the hospital treated more than 100 long-term patients. All had a medical issue that led to their initial hospitalization. But none of the patients had a medical reason for remaining in the hospital for most of their stay. Legally and morally, hospitals cannot discharge patients if they have no safe place to go. So patients who are homeless, frail or live alone, or have unstable housing, can occupy hospital beds for weeks or months - long after their acute medical problem is resolved.

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