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Eur J Cardiovasc Nurs. 2009 Oct;8(4):251-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ejcnurse.2009.05.001. Epub 2009 Jun 17.

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

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Karolinska Institutet, Department of Clinical Sciences, Danderyd Hospital, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Stockholm, Sweden.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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