Food insecurity (FI) increases children’s risk for illness and developmental and behavioral problems, which are ongoing concerns for congenital heart disease (CHD) patients. In 2020, 14.8% of households with children suffered from FI. The Hunger Vital Signs (HVS) asks 2 questions to assess FI. The global aim of the project is to implement HVS and connect FI families to resources.
Stakeholders identified 6 critical drivers in implementing FI screening at an outpatient cardiology clinic and conducted plan-do-study-act (PDSA) cycles to implement HVS. Over the 13-month study period, time series analyses were performed to assess our process measure (FI screening) and outcome measure (connection of FI families to resources). Demographics and severity of CHD were analyzed for FI families.
Screening rates increased from 0% to >85%, screening 5064 families. Process evaluations revealed roadblocks including screening discomfort. FI families were more likely to identify as Black or multiple or other ethnicity. Severe CHD patients were at higher risk for FI (n = 106, odds ratio [OR] 1.67 [1.21-2.29], P = .002). Face-to-face meetings with social work and community partnerships reduced loss to follow-up and our ability to offer all FI families individualized FI resources.
HVS screening can be implemented in a cardiology clinic to improve identification of FI families. A written tool can combat screening discomfort and improve identification of FI families. Children with severe CHD may be at increased risk for FI. A multidisciplinary team and community partnerships can improve individualized resource distribution.