Parent Preferences on Screening for Social Determinants of Health in Hospitalized Children

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Hospital pediatrics








BACKGROUND: Although there has been much research on screening families for social determinants of health (SDOH) at pediatric outpatient visits, there is little data on family preferences about SDOH screening during hospitalization. This is of critical importance because unmet SDOH, also known as social needs, are associated with poor health outcomes. OBJECTIVE: Our objective was to assess caregiver preferences for social needs screening in the inpatient pediatric setting. METHODS: We surveyed a sample of caregivers of admitted patients at our freestanding tertiary-care children's hospital between March 2021 and January 2022. Caregivers were surveyed with respect to the importance of screening, their comfort with screening, and which domains were felt to be acceptable for screening. RESULTS: We enrolled 160 caregivers. More than 60% of caregivers were comfortable being screened for each of the social needs listed. Between 40% and 50% found screening acceptable, even if resources were unavailable. Forty-five percent preferred to be screened in private, 9% preferred to be screened by a health care team member, and 37% were comfortable being screened either in private or with a health care team member. Electronic screening was the most preferred modality (44%), and if by a health care team member, social workers were preferred over others. CONCLUSIONS: Many caregivers reported the acceptance of and comfort with social needs screening in the inpatient setting. Our findings may help inform future hospital-wide social needs screening efforts.