M.D. Alert: Hospitalized teens not getting needed reproductive-health care
By Scott Baltic
Healthcare providers are missing numerous opportunities to identify and address the reproductive-health needs of hospitalized teens, a study by U.S. researchers has found.
For example, barely half of the teens in the study had any documentation about their sexual history (or lack of it). Further, only about one in five who were due for HPV immunization received it before hospital discharge.
Adolescents often lack access to reproductive-health services in primary care, making the hospital a potentially important setting for providing such services, Dr. Vanessa McFadden of the Medical College of Wisconsin, in Milwaukee, and colleagues note in the Journal of Adolescent Health, online March 13.
The researchers reviewed the records for 150 adolescents 13 and older (mean, 15 years) hospitalized at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin from May through July 2017. Nearly two-thirds of the patients were female.
The most common reason for hospitalization was ingestion of medication or another substance requiring treatment or monitoring in the hospital. In 14 cases (8%), the initial admission was to critical care.
Eighty-three patients (55%) had documentation regarding sexual history, and 39 reported having had sex.
Documentation of sexual history was significantly more common for girls than for boys, for those hospitalized for medication ingestion than for other reasons, and for patients admitted to hospital medicine than to critical care.
Their study, the authors conclude, "identified substantial missed opportunities to assess, educate, and provide adolescent reproductive health services."
Dr. Abbey Masonbrink, a pediatric hospitalist at Children's Mercy Hospital, in Kansas City, Missouri, who also was not part of the study, told Reuters Health by email that it "highlights the critical need to better equip inpatient providers to identify and address adolescent reproductive needs that may otherwise go unmet."
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