In a study from Sapporo Medical University Hospital, scientists found older heart failure patients who feel that they have lost their social role amongst friends and family are more likely to suffer poor outcomes.
They found a close association between the loss of perceived social role and long-term poor clinical outcomes in older heart failure patients.
The study highlights the real need to develop a management program that includes a social approach to the care of these patients.
Social frailty has been widely identified as a risk to healthy aging. Social frailty covers areas such as the loss of social roles, social networks, and social activities.
In the study, the team examined the aspects of social frailty that may contribute to poor heart failure outcomes.
They measured social frailty in over 300 heart failure patients over the age of 65 that were admitted to hospitals for care.
The team found that a patient’s perceived social role, as well as their social frailty as a whole, was associated with long-term adverse clinical outcomes in older heart failure patients.
In addition, both of these factors added to the likelihood of a negative prognosis.
The study followed patients for three years after their admission to the hospital, which is much longer than previous studies that have only followed patients for up to a year.
This enabled the team to examine the long-term impact of social frailty on adverse clinical outcomes in older heart failure patients.
While the researchers highlighted that social interactions may vary across different cultures, it is likely that social frailty will adversely impact health in older heart failure patients in all societies.
Therefore, the team believes that including a social aspect of aftercare is essential.
The next important step is to develop programs to help older heart failure patients who have social frailty.
Participation in domestic tasks and social activities such as engagement in meaningful volunteer activities that serve to help others, can all help to improve the perception of social role in older heart failure patients.
These lifestyle changes will help older heart failure patients live longer, healthier, and more productive lives.
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The study was conducted by Dr. Satoshi Katano et al and published in Frontiers in Cardiovascular Medicine.
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