Diabetes management interventions for homeless adults: a systematic review

Int J Public Health. 2020 Dec;65(9):1773-1783. doi: 10.1007/s00038-020-01513-0. Epub 2020 Oct 23.


Objectives: Recent studies investigating diabetes show that inequalities to access appropriate care still persists. Whilst most of the general population are able to access a suitable quality of care, there are a number of groups who fail to receive the same standard. The objective of this review was to identify existing diabetes management interventions for homeless adults.

Methods: A literature search was conducted in February 2017, and repeated in September 2020.

Results: Of the 223 potentially relevant articles identified, only 26 were retrieved for detailed evaluation, and 6 met the inclusion criteria. Papers focusing on the management of diabetes in homeless people were included. The studies used interventions including diabetes education; medication support and supplies for blood monitoring; improvements in self-care behaviours; improvements in diabetes control; patient empowerment/engagement; and community engagement/partnerships.

Conclusions: Effective strategies for addressing the challenges and obstacles that the homeless population face, requires innovative, multi-sectored, flexible and well-coordinated models of care. Without appropriate support, these groups of people are prone to experience poor control of their diabetes; resulting in an increased risk of developing major health complications.

Keywords: Diabetes management; Systematic review; Type 2 diabetes.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Diabetes Mellitus / therapy*
  • Homeless Persons*
  • Humans
  • Medical Assistance / organization & administration
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Self Care / methods
  • Self Care / standards
  • Socioeconomic Factors