April 22, 2024

Children’s social circumstances dictate outcomes in emergency care

Children’s social circumstances dictate outcomes in emergency care

Early or prolonged exposure to social risk as kids can lead people to increased hospitalizations, poorer health and worse chronic conditions, study says.

Children’s social circumstances dictate outcomes in emergency care

New research has found that social determinants of health — including race, language and socio-economic deprivation — shape how children and their families seek care at emergency departments.

In a systematic review and meta-analysis, the research paper evaluated 58 studies, mostly from the United States and Canada, involving more than 17 million children who made 103 million emergency department visits. The study was the first of its kind in the world, and researchers looked for links between social determinants and emergency department outcomes in pediatric populations.

“The negative impact of social determinants on the health outcomes of children is an important topic to explore and understand,” says principal investigator Maria Ospina, adjunct professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Alberta and associate professor of Public Health Sciences at Queen’s University.

This study’s findings are important because adverse social determinants of health disproportionally affect children. Early or prolonged exposures to social risk can lead to increased hospitalizations, poor overall health and worse outcomes in chronic conditions. Increased use of emergency departments by children from racial minorities, including Indigenous populations, and lower socio-economic status groups also reflect barriers to accessing primary health care through family physicians.

The researchers also found that patients who spoke a first language other than English were more likely to be hospitalized, to stay longer and to leave hospital against medical advice.

Read the full article on Folio