Taking a Broader Look at Outcomes: How Social Determinants of Health Positively Impact Ongoing Independence

2017 Self-Direction Conference Breakout Session: This workshop will explore the increasing interest and attention to “social determinants of health,” and their relationship to self direction. Self-direction is built on the belief that the individuals receiving the services and supports know their needs best, and are in the best position to plan and manage their own services.

In this session, we shared ideas and conversation on how social determinants affect self direction and, in turn, the independence and personal agency of an individual with a disability along with the connection to quality of care and services.

The ability to attain and maintain good health depends significantly on factors outside the traditional clinical space. These social determinants of health include having a robust and positive social network, stable, affordable, accessible and safe housing; a job where one feels productive and valued, and access to healthy and affordable food. The presence of social determinants positively affects health, and good health is a primary factor in individuals’ capacity to maintain housing, employment and social relationships. As states continue to embrace Medicaid managed care models for providing services and supports, developing approaches to housing, employment, food security and building social networks have become expected deliverables for managed care programs.

This session presented an approach to incorporating the social determinants of health as critical elements and include discussions on how to use self-direction as a means of defining the elements that will impact better health outcomes.