Improving the health status of children is a key component of the Dayton Children’s Hospital mission and strategic plan. To help develop meaningful community engagement and outreach strategies, Dayton Children’s evaluates the status of our region’s pediatric health through a Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA). Per IRS requirements, Dayton Children’s CHNA includes feedback from the community and experts in public health and clinical care and takes into account the health needs of vulnerable populations, including minorities, those with chronic illness, low-income populations and medically underserved populations.
Funded by the Dayton Children’s Foundation Board, the CHNA covers many health and safety topics and is intended to provide community health advocates, including Dayton Children’s, insights into the health and well-being of our region’s children. These insights enable our community to identify top areas of concern and to develop or refine programs to improve the health status of all children through community benefit investments. Future investments are outlined in an implementation strategy adopted by the Dayton Children’s Board of Trustees per IRS requirements.
This year’s assessment identified health and safety issues through a four-part data collection process including a secondary data scan, parent perception survey, community physician conversations and parent focus groups. A multidisciplinary team convened by Dayton Children’s reviewed the data from all four segments and the rated the needs against criteria including prevalence, seriousness (hospitalization and/or death), impacts on other health issues, urgency, prevention, economics/feasibility, acceptability and resources.
Among the findings in the 2014 Assessment:
- Childhood obesity remains at the forefront of child health issues. In the 2014 parent survey, 41 percent of children were identified as overweight or obese. The majority of parents of overweight and obese children do not perceive their children as having any weight problem. Ten percent of parents of obese children believe their child is underweight and only 5 percent of those parents correctly identify their child as being “very overweight.”
- Mental disorders are the most common inpatient discharge diagnosis for youth ages 5-14 and there remains an inadequate resources to care for children with chronic mental health disorders. Of the 15 percent of parents citing chronic or congenital issues as a top health concern, nearly 50 percent of those parents cited developmental or learning disability or autism as their top chronic concern.
- The regional infant mortality rate was substantially lower than the state’s rate over most of the study period then climbed up to the state rate in more recent years. Sleep-related deaths are a large contributor to infant mortality. According to the Ohio Child Fatality Review, 2007-2011, forty-one percent of infant deaths from 1 month to 1 year are sleep related. In that same report, the 819 infant sleep-related deaths accounted for 15 percent of the 5,418 total reviews for infant deaths from 2007 to 2011, more than any single cause of death except prematurity. In Montgomery County alone, 16.67 percent of the infant deaths in 2012 were related to sleep-related incidents.
The assessment also identified additional needs including asthma/respiratory disorders, injury prevention, infectious disease management/vaccination compliance and access to primary care/health care costs.
Dayton Children’s will lead efforts to address the priority issues identified by the assessment. The implementation plan includes the following strategies:
- Decrease the area’s pediatric obesity by working with local pediatricians and other health care providers to deliver appropriate resources and education to help children and their families choose healthier lifestyles.
- Create a Center for Pediatric Mental Health to increase access to mental health services and coordinate resources for pediatric mental health in the hospital’s primary service area.
- Dayton Children’s will invest in education for parents about safe sleep practices for their infants.
If you have questions about the 2014 Community Health Needs Assessment, please contact Dayton Children’s at 937-641-3666.