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A systematic review of interventions by healthcare professionals to improve management of non-communicable diseases and communicable diseases requiring long-term care in adults who are homeless
  1. Peter Hanlon1,
  2. Lynsey Yeoman1,
  3. Lauren Gibson2,
  4. Regina Esiovwa2,
  5. Andrea E Williamson3,
  6. Frances S Mair1,
  7. Richard Lowrie2
  1. 1 General Practice and Primary Care, Institute of Health and Wellbeing, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK
  2. 2 Pharmacy and Prescribing Support Unit, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, West Glasgow Ambulatory Care Unit, Glasgow, UK
  3. 3 General Practice and Primary Care, School of Medicine, Dentistry and Nursing, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Richard Lowrie; Richard.Lowrie{at}


Objective Identify, describe and appraise trials of interventions delivered by healthcare professionals to manage non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and communicable diseases that require long-term care or treatment (LT-CDs), excluding mental health and substance use disorders, in homeless adults.

Design Systematic review of randomised controlled trials (RCTs), non-RCTs and controlled before–after studies. Interventions characterised using Effective Practice and Organisation of Care (EPOC) taxonomy. Quality assessed using EPOC risk of bias criteria.

Data sources Database searches (MEDLINE, Embase, PsycINFO, Scopus, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), Applied Social Sciences Index and Abstracts (ASSIA) and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials), hand searching reference lists, citation searches, grey literature and contact with study authors.

Setting Community.

Participants Adults (≥18 years) fulfilling European Typology of Homelessness criteria.

Intervention Delivered by healthcare professionals managing NCD and LT-CDs.

Outcomes Primary outcome: unscheduled healthcare utilisation. Secondary outcomes: mortality, biological markers of disease control, adherence to treatment, engagement in care, patient satisfaction, knowledge, self-efficacy, quality of life and cost-effectiveness.

Results 11 studies were included (8 RCTs, 2 quasi-experimental and 1 feasibility) involving 9–520 participants (67%–94% male, median age 37–49 years). Ten from USA and one from UK. Studies included various NCDs (n=3); or focused on latent tuberculosis (n=4); HIV (n=2); hepatitis C (n=1) or type 2 diabetes (n=1). All interventions were complex with multiple components. Four described theories underpinning intervention. Three assessed unscheduled healthcare utilisation: none showed consistent reduction in hospitalisation or emergency department attendance. Six assessed adherence to specific treatments, of which four showed improved adherence to latent tuberculosis therapy. Three concerned education case management, all of which improved disease-specific knowledge. No improvements in biological markers of disease (two studies) and none assessed mortality.

Conclusions Evidence for management of NCD and LT-CDs in homeless adults is sparse. Educational case-management interventions may improve knowledge and medication adherence. Large trials of theory-based interventions are needed, assessing healthcare utilisation and outcomes as well as assessment of biological outcomes and cost-effectiveness.

  • homelessness
  • chronic disease
  • long-term conditions
  • complex interventions

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  • Contributors All authors listed fulfil the ICMJE criteria for authorship. RL conceived the initial idea. All authors contributed to the conception and design of the proposed study. PH, LY, RE, AEW, FSM and RL contributed to the development of data sources and search strategy. PH, LY, RE, AEW, FSM and RL developed and refined the inclusion criteria. PH, LY, RE, LG, FSM and RL developed the data extraction template which was piloted by PH, LY and LG. PH, LY, RE and RL screened titles, abstract and full texts. PH, LY and LG completed data extraction and quality assessment on all included studies. PH wrote the first draft of the manuscript. All authors critically reviewed this and subsequent drafts of the manuscript and provided input into its content. All authors approved the final version of the manuscript to be published. RL is the guarantor of the review. All authors accept accountability for the accuracy of the findings presented.

  • Funding This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement Full details of the screening process are detailed in the supplementary appendices. Any additional detail will be available on request from the corresponding author.

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