OBJECTIVES

Caregiver opinions of inpatient social needs screening and ways of addressing positive screens are not well understood. We aimed to explore caregiver perspectives and goals surrounding inpatient screening and determine how helpful provided resources are at meeting these goals.

METHODS

We conducted a qualitative study using semistructured interviews with caregivers of pediatric patients admitted to an urban tertiary care children’s hospital from April to August 2021. English- and Spanish-speaking caregivers who screened positive for at least 1 social need on a standardized 10-item questionnaire were invited to participate in an interview 2 to 4 months after discharge. Interviews were recorded, transcribed, and analyzed by 2 independent coders using rapid qualitative methods.

RESULTS

We completed 20 interviews, with 14 English-speaking and 6 Spanish-speaking caregivers. Four themes emerged: (1) All caregivers expressed support for inpatient social needs screening. (2) Many caregivers cited it as an effective means to support families and help providers better understand their social situation. (3) Caregivers who recalled receiving a resource packet found it useful and at times even shared the resources with others. (4) The majority of caregivers expressed interest in longitudinal support, such as contact after discharge.

CONCLUSIONS

Caregivers are in support of inpatient screening as a means for providers to optimize comprehensive care that explores how unmet social needs influence health. Although inpatient social work and resource packets may be helpful, longitudinal support after discharge may improve the effectiveness of social needs interventions, patient outcomes, and caregiver satisfaction.

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