Dr. Katie Savin


SOCW 223: Practice-Informed Research in Health Sciences

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The project entailed a process of conducting assessments with patients that were recently treated at St. Joseph's Hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic. The research was based on journal articles about how people with diabetes utilize emergency departments for care. Other research topics were socioeconomic status, healthcare literacy, transportation to medical appointments, and food insecurities not having the proper food for their diet. The purposes of this report are to

  • Determine the Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) that patients with diabetes were affected by and were seen at St. Joseph's Medical Center's emergency department.
  • Suggest ways to decrease hospitalizations for patients with diabetes seen in the emergency room.


A survey was conducted to assess the SDOH of patients that have attended the emergency department due to diabetes-related conditions. The list of participants was given to the researchers by St. Joseph's Medical Center's Community Outreach Department. A total of 10 participants were interviewed. The survey included sections with questions focused on the patient's socioeconomic status and living situation, finances, mental health, education, and medical condition. Some topics may have raised difficult emotions in some patients; thus, a suicide screener and referral process was prepared to use if needed. There were not any patients that experienced thoughts of suicide at the time of the assessment.

Findings & Conclusions

Participants’ responses were organized into sections on depending on topic area. The many themes that arose based on the topic areas were social support, education, socioeconomic status, and diabetes distress.

  • 2/10 participants that mentioned they had a sound support system.
  • 5/10 participants that reported not understanding the materials that were given to them by the doctors.
  • 6/10 participants that mentioned they were unemployed.
  • 8/10 participants struggled with diabetes-related distress


Based on the findings, the recommendations include

  • Provide people newly diagnosed with diabetes free diabetes education to learn how to manage their diabetes.
  • Introduce mentorship programs within hospitals or clinics.
  • Implement a diabetes distress scale that addresses any mental health concerns individuals with diabetes can be experiencing around their diabetes regimen.