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A.H. Jansson, S. Muurinen, N. Savikko, H. Soini, M.M. Suominen, H. Kautiainen, K.H. Pitkälä

Jour Nursing Home Res 2017;3:43-49

Background: Loneliness is common among older people and implies poor prognosis. Still only few studies have explored loneliness, its prevalence and associates in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Objectives: The purpose of this study was to examine the prevalence, associated factors and prognosis of loneliness among older people in institutional settings. Design and settings: A cross-sectional study with 3.6-year follow-up for mortality was conducted in nursing homes and assisted living facilities (N = 61) in Helsinki, Finland in 2011. Participants: Participants of the study were all residents (N = 4966) in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. The original participation rate was 72%. We excluded residents with dementia diagnoses, with severe dementia on the Clinical Dementia Rating Scale (CDR), non-responders and participants with no reliable information on mortality. The total number of participants in this analysis was 2072. Measurements: We asked the residents about loneliness with the question “Do you suffer from loneliness?” Respondents evaluated their own health (self-rated health; SRH). The CDR, Psychological well-being Score (PWB) and Mini-Nutritional Assessment (MNA) served to assess the residents. We collected the mortality data from central registers. Results: Of the residents, 9% stated that they suffered from loneliness often or always, and 26%, sometimes. Loneliness was associated with poor SRH, disability, mobility problems, higher cognitive function, depression and poor PWB. The risk for mortality was significantly higher among the “sometimes lonely” (HR 1.19; 95% CI 1.05 to 1.35) and for the “always lonely” (HR 1.28; 95% CI 1.06 to 1.55) than among the “not lonely” residents (p for linearity < 0.001 adjusted for age, sex and comorbidities). Conclusions: Loneliness has severe consequences in institutional settings and therefore deserves more attention in nursing home care and research. Developing interventions to alleviate residents’ loneliness in order to improve their general well-being is important.

A.H. Jansson ; S. Muurinen ; N. Savikko ; H. Soini ; M.M. Suominen ; H. Kautiainen ; K.H. Pitkälä (2017): Loneliness in nursing homes and assisted living facilities: prevalence, associated factors and prognosis. The Journal of Nursing Home Research Science (JNHRS). http://dx.doi.org/10.14283/jnhrs.2017.7


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