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Food insecurity screening of hospitalized patients: A descriptive analysis

Hanna SL, Wu CL, Smola C, Coyne-Beasley T, Orr M, Healy A, Molina AL
Hosp Pediatr

Objectives: The purpose of this study is to describe an advocacy effort to implement a food insecurity (FI) screening during hospital admission and describe characteristics of hospitalized patients with household FI. METHODS: This is a descriptive study after the implementation of FI screening at a quaternary-care children's hospital in the Southeastern United States between August 2020 and April 2021. The Hunger Vital Sign, a 2-question screening tool for FI, was added to the intake questionnaire performed on inpatient admissions. A positive screen triggered a social work consult to connect patients with resources. Chart review and statistical analyses were performed on patients with household FI. RESULTS: There were 7751 hospital admissions during the study period, of which 4777 (61.6%) had an FI screen completed. Among those with a completed screen, 233 patients (4.9%) were positive for household FI. Patients with household FI were more likely to be Black (P <.001) and have Medicaid (P <.001). Social work documented care specific to FI in 125 of the 233 (56%) FI patients, of which 39 (31%) were not enrolled in the Women, Infants, and Children Program/Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. CONCLUSIONS: This initiative highlights hospitalization as an opportunity to screen for FI using a multidisciplinary approach. Our findings underscore the importance of identifying FI with the goal of reducing FI and mitigating the adverse effects of FI on child health outcomes.

Hanna SL, Wu CL, Smola C, Coyne-Beasley T, Orr M, Healy A, Molina AL. Food insecurity screening of hospitalized patients: a descriptive analysis. Hosp Pediatr. 2022;. DOI:10.1542/hpeds.2022-006549. PMID: 35546296
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Publication year
Resource type
Peer Reviewed Research
Social Needs/ SDH
Children and Youth
Screening research
Social Determinant of Health
Study design
Other Study Design