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Locked In:Impact of Social Isolation and Loneliness on Residents in Long-Term Care Facilities

Hull, Rachel (2022) Locked In:Impact of Social Isolation and Loneliness on Residents in Long-Term Care Facilities. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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The United States (U.S.) population continues to age and will increasingly require admission to long-term care facilities (LTCFs), where they face unique health challenges. One challenge is the threat of social isolation and loneliness, both of which can increase health and well-being when present but also worsen health outcomes when not present. During the COVID19 pandemic, residents of LTCFs were placed into social isolation unlike what they had previously experienced. This included a ban on visitors, closed dining halls and activities, and rules about staying in one’s room. This thesis explores social isolation of residents through a qualitative research study.Certified Nursing Assistants (n=10) and Personal Care Assistants (n=2), who had the most faceto-face time with residents during lockdown measures, were asked about the difficulty of residents,
and the residents’ experience with social isolation including changes in mood. Emphasis was placed on the experiences of dementia residents and relationships with family members. Results showed that residents who were deemed ‘challenging’ or ‘average’ were more socially isolated,while residents seen as ‘easy’ were less socially isolated and did not have as much of a decline in health or function. Interactions with family members were complex and included feelings of
loneliness due to missing family and confusion regarding their whereabouts. Residents also saw declines related to dementia status, depression, and anxiety.This research contributes to understanding that social isolation and loneliness are different and how complicated social isolation and loneliness are and their role in adverse health impacts. �
It also explores complex resident relationships with family members and how this impacted them after contact was suddenly ended as the result of social distancing measures.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Hull, Rachelrrh21@pitt.eduRRH21
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairAlbert, Stevensmalbert@pitt.edusmalbert
Committee MemberTerry, Marthamaterry@pitt.edumaterry
Committee MemberDegenholtz, Howardhoward.degenholtz@pitt.eduhoward.degenholtz
Date: 16 May 2022
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 27 April 2022
Approval Date: 16 May 2022
Submission Date: 29 April 2022
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 58
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Behavioral and Community Health Sciences
Degree: MPH - Master of Public Health
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: long-term care, social isolation, loneliness
Date Deposited: 16 May 2022 14:07
Last Modified: 16 May 2022 14:07


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