Women and older patients feel the need for social support most keenly in the period soon after a major health event, according to Swedish researchers.
They surveyed 241 patients while in hospital and two weeks post-discharge following a myocardial infarction.
Women said social support fell after discharge. This was true for men but only for those over 65 years of age, the authors said in an article due to appear in the Journal of Clinical Nursing.
‘It may be that they had been the centre of attention of their relatives, friends and healthcare professionals during their hospital stay. The silence they encountered on their return home was interpreted as a decrease in social support,’ they said.
Measures such as telephone counselling, rehabilitation or peer support can be used to increase self-confidence, the authors suggested.