Social and economic circumstances affect the health status of all patients, and healthcare organizations are increasingly seeking ways to identify and address a myriad of social determinants of health. In response, the HBI Cost & Quality Academy produced the 2018 best practice report—Strategies for Addressing Social Determinants of Health—which illustrated the success that can occur when healthcare organizations understand patients’ social needs. The report in part focused on community and social support, a domain that explores how a network of people and services work to make one’s environment and health better.
Loneliness and social isolation, which are risk factors for both physical and mental conditions such as heart disease and depression, fall under this domain and were touched on in the original report. However, increasing interest in the topic by the HBI membership community prompted the HBI Cost & Quality Academy team to further examine the problem of lonely or isolated individuals and identify proven solutions. As a result, this supplemental best practice report—Strategies to Address Social Isolation and Loneliness—features organizations that have succeeded in addressing the psychosocial needs of older adults, who are at an increased risk for loneliness and isolation. The report also includes implementation tools shared by the featured facilities to better equip hospitals to meet the unique needs of this population.