Care teams must address social determinants of health in order to improve health outcomes and mitigate care disparities, a new study says.
July 13, 2021 – Researchers found that identifying unmet social needs and addressing social determinants of health is necessary for mitigating care disparities and improving health outcomes in certain cancers.
The study of 135 women with gynecologic cancer was published in Cancer, a journal of the American Cancer Society.
Researchers conducted a survey-based study at the gynecologic oncology clinic of the Olive View-UCLA Medical Center, a public safety-net hospital in Los Angeles. Most of the 135 women were identified as immigrants living below the federal poverty level. Participants underwent a distress screening and social needs assessment and then completed relevant surveys so researchers could get a complete picture of their healthcare journey.
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The majority of patients had at least one unmet social need, and a third of patients had two or more. Higher rates of depression and distress were associated with higher numbers of social needs.
Assistance with reading hospital materials was the most commonly reported social need. Screenings revealed that social isolation and lack of safety at home were also associated with distress. In addition, lack of finances for medical care and lack of transportation were often correlated with treatment interruptions. Housing instability and food insecurity were also identified as significant threats to positive patient outcomes. Read More