When Families Do Not Request Help: Assessing a Social Determinants of Health Screening Tool in Practice


      Using pediatric social determinants of health screening data from a large medical system, we explored social needs dislosures and identified which needs were associated with resource connection requests.


      Data came from records of outpatient pediatric patients (0–18 years) seen between October 2018 and March 2020 (39,251 encounters). We assessed percent of encounters where families (1) indicated a social need, and (2) requested a resource connection. We conducted multivariable logistic regression to identify which needs were associated with resource connection requests.


      Among all encounters, 8% indicated a need and 2% requested a resource connection. Among families indicating a need, needs associated with resource requests included: housing (odds ratio [OR], 3.49 [2.42–5.03]), employment (OR, 3.15 [2.21–4.50]), food (OR, 1.89 [1.41–2.52]), and transportation (OR, 1.82 [1.30–2.56]).


      Families seldom requested resource connections to address social needs. Better understanding families’ interests in receiving assistance is an important next step in pediatric social determinants of health screening system development.

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      Rebeccah L. Sokol, Assistant Professor, School of Social Work, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI.


      Roshanak Mehdipanah, Assistant Professor, Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, MI.


      Kiana Bess, Doctoral Student, Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, MI.


      Layla Mohammed, Clinical Assistant Professor, Ypsilanti Health Center, University of Michigan, Ypsilanti, MI.


      Alison L. Miller, Associate Professor, Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, MI.