Addressing secondary effects of anxiety, fear, economic uncertainty, and social isolation
The global COVID-19 pandemic is having a major and protracted impact on individuals, families, and communities. In addition to the direct health consequences of the viral pandemic, secondary social effects include anxiety, fear, economic uncertainty, and social isolation. Historically underserved people and communities are likely to suffer most from the direct and indirect impacts of the pandemic, and people who previously had no unmet social needs may experience them. Additionally, disparities by race and ethnicity are prevalent among those testing positive for COVID-19 due to longstanding systemic and social inequities in the United States.
While Kaiser Permanente is appropriately focused on mitigating the viral pandemic, the organization also recognizes its responsibility to help ease the indirect social impacts of the pandemic on its patients, members, and communities, and to address the conditions that give rise to inequity and racism. As part of the organization’s commitment to help shape the future of health in the nation, Kaiser Permanente has adapted its Social Health Playbook to share with others in the field and deepen the health sector’s commitment to addressing the social determinants of health.
The Kaiser Permanente Social Health Playbook provides guidance to:
- Care for patients with social needs within the context of COVID-19.
- Assess patients’ social needs.
- Connect patients to resources to address those needs.
- Follow up to ensure needs were met and to coordinate care as appropriate.
The playbook includes a job aid, and starter resource lists for housing instability, food insecurity, social isolation, financial strain, and intimate partner violence, as well as additional guidance for assisting older adults, those with behavioral health needs, and victims of intimate partner violence.