Screening for social and environmental problems in a VA primary care setting

Health Soc Work. 1996 Feb;21(1):41-7. doi: 10.1093/hsw/21.1.41.


Social workers are in an ideal position to identify and treat social and environmental problems early in the continuum of care. Information on these problems will facilitate informed decision making on the development and reallocation of resources to better meet patients needs. This study assessed the social and environmental problems of 132 patients seen in a primary care clinic at a university-affiliated Veterans Affairs (VA) medical center. The most prevalent social problems were financial difficulties, personal stress, family problems, legal concerns, and employment concerns. When asked, nearly one-third of all respondents requested social work services or information about services related to their problems. The findings suggest a clear need for social work interventions in VA primary care clinics that focus on both psychosocial problems.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Environmental Health
  • Female
  • Health Services Needs and Demand
  • Hospitals, Veterans*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / organization & administration*
  • Middle Aged
  • Midwestern United States
  • Outpatient Clinics, Hospital / organization & administration*
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care
  • Prevalence
  • Primary Health Care / organization & administration*
  • Social Problems*
  • Social Work Department, Hospital / organization & administration*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires