Combined treatment for alcohol use disorder shows promise

In a new study, people experiencing homelessness and alcohol use disorder saw improved health while receiving both behavioral and medication treatment. During the three-month treatment, participants reported using less alcohol, suffering less harm from alcohol use and enjoying better physical health quality of life, according to the paper published March 10 in “Lancet.” Results plateaued when treatment ended.

The study’s lead author, Susan Collins, co-directs the Harm Reduction Research and Treatment (HaRRT) Center at the University of Washington School of Medicine.

Onsite physical healthcare services increase access to care for people living with mental illness

University of Washington and King County researchers collaborated with DESC to examine the effects of bringing physical healthcare services to behavioral health clinics at DESC and Harborview Medical Center. Results included significant increases in access to physical health services for homeless people with serious mental illness.

Integrating Primary Care Into Community Mental Health Centers: Impact on Utilization and Costs of Health Care – Psychiatric Services (ahead of print, published online July 01, 2016)

Housing First eliminates homelessness and reduces psychiatric hospitalizations

Researchers from Depaul University and King County examined the effects of a DESC single-site Housing First program for people with serious psychiatric problems. Some tenants came from long-term street homelessness while others had less street homelessness due to lengthy psychiatric hospitalizaitons. Tenants showed high housing retention (90%) and a significant (44%) reductions in days hospitalized, in stark contrast to a comparison group who received “usual care” in the community.

Housing First as an effective model for community stabilization among vulnerable individuals with chronic and non-chronic homelessness histories – Journal of Community Psychology (Volume 44 | Issue 3, April, 2016)