Female patients and older patients feel the need for social support most keenly in the early discharge period after a major health event, say Swedish researchers.
They surveyed 241 patients, ranging in age from 37 to 90, while in hospital and two weeks post-discharge following a myocardial infarction.
Female respondents were of the opinion that their emotional support decreased after discharge from hospital. This was true for men but only for those over 65 years of age, the authors said in a soon to be published article in the Journal of Clinical Nursing.
‘It may be that they had been the centre of attention of their relatives, friends and the healthcare professionals during their hospital stay. The silence they encountered on their return home was then interpreted as a decrease in social support,’ they said.
‘If healthcare professionals are aware of the importance of social support in the early discharge period, it may have long-term consequences for the patients,’ the authors added.
For example, they suggest measures like telephone counselling, guideline-based rehabilitation or peer support groups can be used to increase self-confidence.