Trajectory of social isolation following hip fracture: an analysis of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA) cohort.

Authors:  Toby O. Smith , Jack R. Dainty and Alex MacGregor
Type: Journal Article
Publication date: July 2017
Published in:  Age and Ageing
DOI: 10.1093/ageing/afx129.

Abstract

Background:

social isolation is defined as a lack of meaningful and sustained communication or interactions with social networks. There is limited understanding on the prevalence of social isolation and loneliness in people following hip fracture and no previous understanding of how this changes over time.

Objective:

to determine the prevalence and trajectory of social isolation and loneliness before a hip fracture, during the recovery phase and a minimum of 2 years post-hip fracture in an English population.

Methods:

data were from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA) cohort (2004/5-2014/15). The sample comprised of 215 participants who had sustained a hip fracture. Measures of social isolation and loneliness were analysed through multilevel modelling to determine their trajectories during three-time intervals (pre-fracture; interval at hip fracture and recovery; minimum 2 years post-fracture). The prevalence of social isolation and loneliness were determined pre- and post-fracture.

Results:

prevalence of social isolation was 19% post-hip fracture and loneliness 13% post-hip fracture. There was no statistically significant change in social isolation pre-fracture compared to a minimum of 2 years post-fracture (P = 0.78). Similarly, there was no statistically significant change in loneliness pre-fracture compared to a minimum of 2 years post-fracture (P = 0.12).

Conclusion:

this analysis has determined that whilst social isolation and loneliness do not change over time following hip fracture, these remain a significant problem for this population. Interventions are required to address these physical and psychological health needs. This is important as they may have short and longer term health benefits for people post-hip fracture.

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