Dedicated social worker would be beneficial to pulmonary arterial hypertension patients

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A lack of screening for social determinants of health (SDoH) and lack of a dedicated social worker, may hurt outcomes in patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), according to a study, with COVID-19-related social isolation, mental health, and substance abuse contributing to significant inequities.

“An approach that integrates SDoH in PAH care management, streamlined through institutional policy, could address health disparities leading to improved healthcare access, outcomes, and quality of care,” the study authors wrote.

Virtual interviews were conducted with doctors at 17 pulmonary hypertension (PH) centers and 1 patient advocate from the Pulmonary Hypertension Association. Despite having “high awareness of SDoH and its impact on treatment and outcomes,” no interview participant reported having formal screening for SDoH at the point of care.

Patients’ SDoH that impacted health and well-being included socioeconomic status; health insurance; access to health care; education levels; health literacy; employment status; and insecurities associated with housing, food, transportation, and family support.

Nadipelli VR, Elwing JM, Oglesby WH, et al. Social determinants of health in pulmonary arterial hypertension patients in the United States: Clinician perspective and health policy implications. Pulm Circ. 2022;12(3):e12111. doi: 10.1002/pul2.12111. PMID: 35874851; PMCID: PMC9297028.