Perceived loneliness and social support in patients with chronic heart failure.

European journal of cardiovascular nursing : journal of the Working Group on Cardiovascular Nursing of the European Society of Cardiology

PubMedID: 19539533

Löfvenmark C, Mattiasson AC, Billing E, Edner M. Perceived loneliness and social support in patients with chronic heart failure. Eur J Cardiovasc Nurs. 2009;8(4):251-8.
UNLABELLED
Self-reported conditions have become increasingly important in patient care, and perceived loneliness and social relationships in patients with chronic heart failure (CHF) are not sufficiently investigated.

AIM
The aim was to investigate perceived loneliness and social support in patients with CHF. Further, to investigate whether loneliness and social support might be associated with gender, age, healthcare utilization and mortality.

METHODS
One hundred and forty nine patients with CHF, hospitalised at least once during a 4-month period in 2006, completed a self-reported questionnaire including measurements about loneliness and social support. Healthcare utilization was assessed prospectively by frequency of readmissions and number of days hospitalised during 1 year.

RESULTS
Loneliness was reported by 29 (20%) participants. They were more often women (p<0.001) and younger (p=0.024). Patients who perceived loneliness had fewer social contacts (p=0.033), reported lower occurrence of emotional contacts (p=0.004), were less satisfied with social contacts and close relationships (p<0.001). Those reporting loneliness had more days hospitalised (p=0.044), and more readmissions to hospital (p=0.027), despite not having more severe CHF.

CONCLUSION
Loneliness is a health-related risk indicator in that patients with CHF who perceived loneliness have more healthcare utilization than those who do not report loneliness despite not having more severe CHF.