Social determinants of health are conditions in the environments in which people are born, live, learn, work, play, worship, and age that affect a wide range of health, functioning, and quality-of-life outcomes and risks. Conditions (e.g., social, economic, and physical) in these various environments and settings (e.g., school, church, workplace, and neighborhood) have been referred to as “place.”
In addition to the more material attributes of “place,” the patterns of social engagement and sense of security and wellbeing are also affected by where people live. Resources that enhance quality of life can have a significant influence on population health outcomes. Examples of these resources include safe and affordable housing, access to education, public safety, availability of healthy foods, local emergency/health services, and environments free of life-threatening toxins.
Examples of social determinants include:
• Availability of resources to meet daily needs (e.g., safe housing and local food markets)
• Access to educational, economic, and job opportunities
• Access to health care services
• Quality of education and job training
• Availability of community-based resources in support of community living and opportunities for recreational and leisure-time activities
• Transportation options
• Public safety
• Social support
• Social norms and attitudes (e.g., discrimination, racism, and distrust of government)
• Exposure to crime, violence, and social disorder (e.g., presence of trash and lack of cooperation in a community)
• Socioeconomic conditions (e.g., concentrated poverty and the stressful conditions that accompany it)
• Residential segregation
• Access to mass media and emerging technologies (e.g., cell phones, the Internet, and social media)
By assessing patients within your practice on these social aspects and acting upon the results, it may eliminate or minimizing barriers and allow better health outcomes.
Aunt Bertha (General Community Resource Guide): https://www.auntbertha.com
Department of Aging and Disability: Residents who are 60 years of age or older may be eligible for assistance, such as, adult day care, transportation, home-delivered meals, personal assistance, home modifications) 1-800-753-8827 or https://www.aging.pa.gov/Pages/default.aspx
Department of Public Welfare: https://www.aging.pa.gov/Pages/default.aspx
Bureau of Community Health Systems: supports public health programs. The health centers engage in community health assessment, quality assurance activities, and provide other public health services (i.e., community integration and outreach programs). This link, https://www.health.pa.gov/About/Pages/State%20Health%20Centers.aspx, will direct
you to your local health centers.
Meals on Wheels: 1-888-998-6325 or https://www.mealsonwheelsamerica.org/about-membership/stateassociations/pennyslvania
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP): Eligible seniors care potentially but food at local grocery stores and supermarkets and may be eligible for monthly food boxes. 1-877-999-5967
Shared Ride Programs, Free Transit Programs for Senior Citizens: https://www.aging.pa.gov/agingservices/transportation/Pages/default.aspx
Pennsylvania’s prescription assistance programs for older adults (PACE and PACENET): 1-800-225-7223
Senior Corps: a national service programs that focuses on elderly care, disaster relief support, and more. 1-800-942-2677 or https://www.nationalservice.gov/programs/senior-corps
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233 or https://www.thehotline.org/
Pennsylvania Addiction Helpline (drugs, alcohol, mental abuse): 1-800-662-HELP
PA Free Quitline (tobacco): 1-800-QUIT-NOW (784-8669)
Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP): 1-866-857-7095 LIHEAP – dhs.pa.gov
Approved Quality Committee – 4/8/2020
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