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Opportunistic adolescent health screening of surgical inpatients


Purpose Opportunistic health screening has long been promoted by advocates of adolescent health. However, there are few objective data documenting the outcomes in an inpatient setting.

Methods The authors performed opportunistic health screening on 114 surgical inpatients, median age 14 (range 10–18) years, admitted to a general adolescent ward in a tertiary children's hospital. A four-page paper document with a formatted list of questions, based on the Home, Education, Activities, Drugs, Sexual Health, Suicide framework, was developed to standardise screening and documentation.

Results Areas of concern requiring intervention were identified in 34 (30%) patients. Specific interventions included referrals to the Adolescent Medicine clinic (n=6), Hospital School Services (n=7) and Psychological Medicine (n=7).

Conclusions Consideration should be given to offer adolescent health screening to all surgical inpatients. Further research should involve the participation of young people and should focus on the outcomes, feasibility, acceptability and resource implications of such screening.

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