Patients diagnosed with heart failure who are also socially isolated and feeling lonely are more likely to be hospitalized or die, according to a new study in the Journal of the American Heart Association (JAHA).
Heart failure affects more than 6 million adults in the United States each year. The study looked at 1,681 community patients with heart failure in southeastern Minnesota to measure their perceived isolation and determine any associations with poor health outcomes. They were average age 73, mostly white, 53 percent male. About 6 percent of them reported a high level of perceived social isolation.
The authors suggested, very simply, that assessing patients during clinical visits, with a brief survey screening tool, could help them avoid poor health outcomes. The authors suggested solutions to address perceived social isolation that include referral to psychological or social services; establishing connections with community resources; or referral to specialized services to meet patient needs."
Stephanie Stephens is a digital journalist, host and producer focused on health and lifestyle. Steph does audio and video and has shot a TV pilot for the powerful age 45+ demo. She’s an accomplished red carpet host, having interviewed more than 250 celebrities. When she’s not working (when is that?), she’s working out doing HIIT, strength training, yoga or running. Steph is very involved in humane causes in Southern California and is owned by seven cats. Join her on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Google+.