This article was originally published here
Hosp Pediatr. 2021 Dec 1;11(12):1370-1376. doi: 10.1542/hpeds.2021-005903.
BACKGROUND: Social determinants of health (SDOH) contribute to racial disparities in asthma outcomes. Community health worker (CHW) programs represent a promising way to screen for SDOH and connect patients to resources, but the impact of CHW programs in the inpatient pediatric setting has been examined in few studies. In this study, we aimed to evaluate a CHW program for children hospitalized with asthma in a predominantly Hispanic community by examining rates of SDOH and social resource navigation.
METHODS: This pilot study involved a CHW intervention to improve pediatric asthma care. Patients were included if they were hospitalized with asthma over an 18-month period and enrolled in the CHW program during their hospitalization. In an intake interview, CHWs screened caregivers for SDOH and provided tailored social resource navigation. Descriptive statistics were used to assess rates of social risk factors and social resource navigation.
RESULTS: Eighty patients underwent SDOH screening. The majority of patients were Hispanic (81.3%, n = 65). Half of caregivers reported food or housing insecurity over the past 12 months (50.0%, n = 40), and most reported inadequate housing conditions (63.8%, n = 51). CHWs coordinated social resources for the majority of families (98.8%, n = 79), with the most common being food resources (42.5%, n = 34), housing resources (82.5%, n = 66), and appointment navigation (41.3%, n = 33).
CONCLUSIONS: CHWs identified a high burden of unmet social needs and provided associated social resource navigation in a largely Hispanic pediatric population hospitalized for asthma. CHW programs have potential to improve asthma outcomes by linking high-risk patients with social resources.