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Living Alone Ups Admission Risk for Respiratory Disease in Seniors

Social disengagement also predicted admission, but low social contact and loneliness did not

doctor listening to lungs

WEDNESDAY, April 22, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- For older adults, the risk for hospital admission due to respiratory disease (RD) is increased in association with living alone and social disengagement, according to a study published online April 21 in Thorax.

Feifei Bu, from University College London, and colleagues explored modifiable social risk factors for hospital admissions due to RD among 4,478 older adults from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing. Data were linked with administrative hospital records and mortality registry data, with a follow-up of 9.6 years.

The researchers found that people living alone had an increased risk for RD admission, even after adjustment for potential confounders, with a hazard ratio of 1.32 in a fully adjusted model compared with those who lived with others. Societal disengagement was a predictor of RD admission, with a 1 standard deviation increase in social disengagement linked to a 24 percent increase in RD admission risk. There was no association noted for low social contact or loneliness with RD admissions.

"Older adults living alone with existing lung conditions may benefit from additional targeted community support to try and reduce the risk of hospital admissions," the authors write. "The roll out of social prescribing schemes may present opportunities for referring these individuals to social engagement community activities."

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