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Social emergency medicine: Capitalizing on the pediatric emergency department visit to screen and connect patients and families to community resources

D.B. Liberman, P.K. Pham, J.E. Semple-Hess
Acad Pediatr

Objective: To describe the social needs of families screened by the Community Health Advocates Team (CHAT) Desk, situated within a pediatric emergency department (PED); and to evaluate the effectiveness of this help desk in connecting families to community resources. Methods: Trained undergraduates, onsite in the PED 30 hours/week during daytime and evening hours, weekdays and weekends, screened a convenience sample of families of patients in the PED for social needs, and provided information on available community resources. Families were offered a follow-up phone call several weeks after their PED visit to assess program satisfaction and success, and identify remaining social needs. Results: Between January 2019 and March 2020, CHAT Desk screened and assisted 682 families. CHAT routinely provided resources about free outdoor recreational activities for families, but after that, the most commonly provided informational resources pertained to: healthcare (n=200), housing (n=143), and food (n=137). Of families who completed the follow-up phone call (n=294), almost half (n=134, 46%) reported being able to contact at least one of the resources; 100 reported that the resource was able to assist them, and 99 families planned to continue using the resource. When asked about satisfaction, 93% (n=274) reported being very satisfied or somewhat satisfied with CHAT; 94% (n=276) said they would recommend it to others. Conclusions: The PED of a busy tertiary care children's hospital is an opportune location to screen families for social needs, and provide them with information on requested community resources.

Liberman DB, Pham PK, Semple-Hess JE. Social emergency medicine: capitalizing on the pediatric emergency department visit to screen and connect patients and families to community resources. Acad Pediatr. 2022 Jan 4:S1876-2859(21)00647-1. doi: 10.1016/j.acap.2021.12.028. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34995821.

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Publication year
Resource type
Peer Reviewed Research
Social Needs/ SDH
Patient Experience of Care
Children and Youth
Screening research
Social Determinant of Health
Built Environment
Health Care Access
Housing Quality
Housing Stability
Legal Services
Public Benefits
Study design
Other Study Design