Loneliness and emergency and planned hospitalizations in a community sample of older adults

J Am Geriatr Soc. 2010 Aug;58(8):1538-41. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.2010.02960.x. Epub 2010 Jul 14.


Objectives: To examine whether loneliness is independently associated with emergency hospitalization and planned hospital inpatient admissions in a population sample of older adults.

Design: Nationally representative cross-sectional interviews in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Setting: Private homes in the community.

Participants: Randomly selected older people in the community (aged ≥65, N=2,033).

Measurements: Emergency hospitalization and planned hospital admissions.

Results: Eleven percent of the sample had an emergency hospitalization, and 15% had a planned hospital admission. Forty-two percent reported being bothered by loneliness. A higher frequency of loneliness was associated with emergency hospitalization only (odds ratio=1.29, 95% confidence interval=1.08-1.55), and this association was independent of a range of potential confounders in multivariate analysis.

Conclusion: In this community-based sample of older adults, greater loneliness was independently associated with emergency hospitalization but not planned inpatient admissions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depression / epidemiology
  • Emergencies*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Ireland / epidemiology
  • Loneliness*
  • Male
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Patient Admission / statistics & numerical data*
  • Social Support