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Inquiry. 2019 Jan-Dec;56:46958018823929. doi: 10.1177/0046958018823929.

Social Interventions Targeting Social Relations Among Older People at Nursing Homes: A Qualitative Synthesized Systematic Review.

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1 Section for Health Services Research, Department of Public Health & Center for Healthy Aging, University of Copenhagen, Denmark.


Social relations are part of the complex set of factors affecting health and well-being in old age. This systematic review seeks to uncover whether social interventions have an effect on social and health-related measures among nursing home residents. The authors screened PubMed, Scopus, and PsycINFO for relevant peer-reviewed literature. Interventions were included if (1) they focused primarily on social relations or related terms such as loneliness, social support, social isolation, social network, or being involuntarily alone either as the base theory of the intervention or as an outcome measure of the intervention; (2) they were implemented at nursing homes (or similar setting); (3) they had a narrative activity as its core (as opposed to dancing, gardening or other physical activity); (4) their participants met either physically or nonphysically, ie, via video-conference or the like; and if (5) they targeted residents at a nursing home. The authors systematically appraised the quality of the final selection of studies using the Mixed Methods Assessments Tool (MMAT) version 2011 and did a qualitative synthesis of the final study selection. A total of 10 studies were included. Reminiscence therapy was the most common intervention. Studies also included video-conference, cognitive, and support group interventions. All studies found the social interventions brought about positive trends on either/or the social and health-related measures included. Despite limited and very diverse evidence, our systematic review indicated a positive social and health-related potential of social interventions for older people living in nursing homes or similar institutions.


interventions; loneliness; nursing homes; older people; outcome assessment; social interventions; social isolation; social relations; social support

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