How to Improve the Health of Women With Cancer?

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The prospective survey-based study conducted at Olive View-UCLA Medical Center, a public safety net hospital near Los Angeles including 135 women, many of them are immigrants and living below the federal poverty level.

‘Identifying social needs reduce distress and improve the health of women with cancer.’

Nearly two-thirds (65.2%) of patients have one unmet social need (the lack of a basic resource), and 37.8% of patients screened positive for psychological distress.

Helping to read hospital materials is the most frequently reported need (30.4%). Needing someone to talk to, social isolation, housing instability, financial toxicity, food insecurity, and transportation difficulties are also prevalent.

“While it is not within the power of individual healthcare systems or providers to modify social determinants of health, these data offer hope that we can implement programs to reduce healthcare disparities by addressing unmet social needs,” said senior author Abdulrahman K. Sinno, MD, of the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

In addition to using cancer care navigators to help with reading hospital materials, other social needs such as food insecurity, housing instability, and lack of transportation are also addressed by connecting patients with available resources.

Patients with distress are assigned to a social worker with mental health specialization and a psychiatry team to remove barriers to mental healthcare.

The utility and cost effectiveness of identified social need intervention algorithms will be demonstrated in the future for improving quality of life and health outcomes and reducing healthcare disparities.

Source: Medindia

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