The World Health Organization (WHO) defines the social determinants of health as the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age. These circumstances are shaped by the distribution of money, power and resources at global, national and local levels.
We can think of social determinants of health in terms of Maslow's Hierarchy by which individuals need to have their basic social needs met before continuing on the path to eventual self-management of their health. Basic needs must be met first in order for the individual to feel comfortable moving forward and addressing further issues or concerns. It is the priorities of the individual and not the clinician when addressing the social determinants of health.