What You Can Do When There’s Nothing to Do

Compassionate Agent of Reality Strategies for SDOH “First Responders”

Health and human service members increasingly are serving as “first responders” to disclosures of high-stakes social, economic and environmental barriers to health. Frequently, the needs involved – such as stable housing and immigration status – are fundamental to a person’s well-being. Meanwhile, often neither federal nor state law offers a remedy and the person has to confront the profound stress, even grief, of learning that an eviction is going to happen or that gaining legal status is out of reach.

MLPB understands that an “occupational hazard” of increasingly systematic SDOH screening practice is the surfacing of profound needs that simply cannot be met in the current law and policy landscape.

We offer the approaches outlined to help facilitate this daunting kind of communication in ways that may buffer against workforce burn-out and despair among the people they serve.

Six concrete recommendations for a strengths-based approach to social need screening with families, intending to minimize potential harm and unintended consequences.

Strengths-based screening 1-pager