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1.
Prev Med Rep ; 26: 101730, 2022 Apr.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1671045

ABSTRACT

Emerging data suggest that adults with low income are at highest risk for COVID-19-related stressors and mental health disorders. This study aimed to determine if COVID-19-related stressors were associated with worsening depression and anxiety in a cohort of low-income adults one year after the start of the pandemic. Participants included 253 Medicaid and commercial accountable care organization recipients from 5 community health centers around Boston, MA who enrolled December 2019-March 2020 in a larger longitudinal study of a Medicaid program. Participants completed surveys at baseline and one-year follow-up that measured depression (Patient Health Questionnaire-8 [PHQ-8]) and anxiety (Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7 [GAD-7]) symptoms. Follow-up surveys assessed COVID-19-related stressors experienced over the prior 12 months. A stressor score included COVID-19-related infectious, social, and economic stressors categorized into tertiles (low, 0-3; medium, 4-6; high, 7-19). Mean age (SD) was 45.2 (11.5) years; 71.2% were female, 42.3% Hispanic and 14.6% Black. At baseline, 126 (49.8%) had moderate or severe depression (PHQ-8 ≥ 10), and 109 (43.1%) had moderate or severe anxiety (GAD-7 ≥ 10). The mean (SD) number of COVID-19 stressors was 4.9 (3.1); the most frequent were food insecurity (52.2%) and job or income loss (43.9%). Compared to the low tertile, those in high and medium tertiles had significantly greater one-year increases in depression and anxiety symptoms. Low-income adults facing multiple COVID-19-related stressors, particularly health-related social needs, had worsening mental health symptoms over one year. Interventions are urgently needed to address the dual burden of health-related social needs and poor mental health exacerbated by COVID-19.

2.
Public Health Rep ; 136(3): 309-314, 2021 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1085223

ABSTRACT

Health-related social needs (HRSNs), such as food or housing insecurity, are important drivers of disparities in outcomes during public health emergencies. We describe the development of a telehealth follow-up program in Boston, Massachusetts, for patients discharged from the emergency department after coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) testing to identify patients with worsening clinical symptoms, to screen for unmet HRSNs, and to deliver self-isolation counseling and risk-reduction strategies for socially vulnerable people. We prioritized telephone calls to patients with public health insurance and patients without primary care physicians. In the first 43 days of operation, March 30-May 12, 2020, our intervention reached 509 patients, with 209 (41.1%) patients reporting an HRSN, most commonly related to food, housing, or utilities. Thirty-one (6.1%) patients required assessment by a clinician for clinical worsening. This public health intervention may be useful for other institutions developing programs to address the social and health needs of patients discharged with suspected COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Testing , COVID-19/diagnosis , Health Services Needs and Demand , Patient Discharge , Telemedicine , Vulnerable Populations , Boston/epidemiology , Emergency Service, Hospital , Food Insecurity , Housing , Humans , Patient Isolation , SARS-CoV-2 , Social Determinants of Health
3.
J Gen Intern Med ; 36(7): 1951-1957, 2021 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1061194

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Social isolation is a known predictor of mortality that disproportionately affects vulnerable populations in the USA. Although experts began to recognize it as a public health crisis prior to 2020, the novel coronavirus pandemic has accelerated recognition of social isolation as a serious threat to health and well-being. OBJECTIVE: Examine patient experiences with screening and assistance for social isolation in primary care settings, and whether patient experiences with these activities are associated with the severity of reported social isolation. DESIGN: Cross-sectional survey conducted in 2018. PARTICIPANTS: Adults (N = 251) were recruited from 3 primary care clinics in Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco. MAIN MEASURES: A modified version of the Berkman-Syme Social Network Index (SNI), endorsed by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; items to assess for prior experiences with screening and assistance for social isolation. KEY RESULTS: In the sample population, 12.4% reported the highest levels of social isolation (SNI = 0/1), compared to 36.7%, 34.7%, and 16.3% (SNI = 2-4, respectively). Most patients had not been asked about social isolation in a healthcare setting (87.3%), despite reporting no discomfort with social isolation screening (93.9%). Neither discomfort with nor participation in prior screening for social isolation was associated with social isolation levels. Desire for assistance with social isolation (3.2%) was associated with a higher level of social isolation (AOR = 6.0, 95% CI, 1.3-28.8), as well as poor or fair health status (AOR = 9.1; 95% CI, 1.3-64.1). CONCLUSIONS: In this study, few patients reported being screened previously for social isolation in a primary care setting, despite low levels of discomfort with screening. Providers should consider broadening social isolation screening and referral practices in healthcare settings, especially among sicker and more isolated patients who express higher levels of interest in assistance with social isolation.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Social Isolation , Adult , Chicago , Cross-Sectional Studies , Humans , Patient Outcome Assessment , Primary Health Care , SARS-CoV-2 , San Francisco
4.
Acad Pediatr ; 21(4): 677-683, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1046651

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: To identify unmet health and social resource needs during a county-wide coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19) stay-at-home order and phased re-opening in Western Pennsylvania. METHODS: With public health, social service, and community partners connected through an ongoing academic-community collaborative, we developed and fielded a weekly repeated cross-sectional electronic survey assessing usage of and unmet need for health and social service resources. Using 10 weeks of surveys (April 3-June 11, 2020) by Allegheny County residents, we examined variation in responses by week and by sociodemographic characteristics using chi-square tests. We shared written reports weekly and discussed emerging trends with community partners. RESULTS: Participants ranged from 229 to 1001 per week. Unmet need for at least 1 health or health-related social need resource varied by week, ranging from 55% (95% confidence interval [CI] 50%-59%) of participants in week 2 to 43% (95% CI 37%-49%) of participants in week 9 (P = .006). Increased use of at least 1 resource ranged from 53% (95% CI 47%-58%) of participants in week 3 to 36% (95% CI 31%-42%) in week 9 (P < .001). Unmet need for food and financial assistance peaked early during the stay-at-home order, while unmet need for mental health care rose later. Unmet need for food assistance varied significantly by race and ethnicity and by household prepandemic income. CONCLUSIONS: Over half of families with children reported unmet health or social service needs during the first month of a county-wide COVID-19 stay-at-home order. Unmet needs varied with race, ethnicity, and income and with duration of the stay-at-home order.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Health Services/statistics & numerical data , Social Work , Adult , Child , Cross-Sectional Studies , Female , Health Services Needs and Demand , Humans , Income , Pennsylvania , SARS-CoV-2
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