Title

The influence of social support on patient health

Presenter Information

Abigail PrinsFollow

Academic Level at Time of Presentation

Senior

Major

Nursing

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Dina Byers, PhD

Presentation Format

Oral Presentation

Abstract/Description

Objective: The critical nature of social support and its impact on health has been increasing in health literature. Previous research shows that under stressful conditions, family support has been linked to improvements in psychological and physiological responses. (Lunstad, Smith, & Layton, 2010; Seidel et al., 2013). The purpose of this research is to gain insight on the role of social support affecting hospitalized patients’ health and how to improve patients’ social support in the hospital. This qualitative study identifies trends in nurses’ observations of patients’ responses to visitors and their recommendations to improve care in this area.

Methods: A volunteer sample of medical-surgical nurses was taken at an independent rural hospital. They were asked a series of questions about their experience of observing the impact of visitors on the psychological and physiological health of hospital inpatients. They were also asked if and how they would change hospital policy to better address the area of social support.

Results/Conclusion: The importance of social support and assessing social support was unanimous. Visiting family and friends tend to provide motivation, restating of directions, and a sense of normalcy that strengthens patient recovery. However, if there is conflict between patient and visitors, stress increases and recovery is not strengthened. Results showed that there is no standard assessment of social support, rather an informal assessment is gathered over the nursing shift and upon discharge.

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The influence of social support on patient health

Objective: The critical nature of social support and its impact on health has been increasing in health literature. Previous research shows that under stressful conditions, family support has been linked to improvements in psychological and physiological responses. (Lunstad, Smith, & Layton, 2010; Seidel et al., 2013). The purpose of this research is to gain insight on the role of social support affecting hospitalized patients’ health and how to improve patients’ social support in the hospital. This qualitative study identifies trends in nurses’ observations of patients’ responses to visitors and their recommendations to improve care in this area.

Methods: A volunteer sample of medical-surgical nurses was taken at an independent rural hospital. They were asked a series of questions about their experience of observing the impact of visitors on the psychological and physiological health of hospital inpatients. They were also asked if and how they would change hospital policy to better address the area of social support.

Results/Conclusion: The importance of social support and assessing social support was unanimous. Visiting family and friends tend to provide motivation, restating of directions, and a sense of normalcy that strengthens patient recovery. However, if there is conflict between patient and visitors, stress increases and recovery is not strengthened. Results showed that there is no standard assessment of social support, rather an informal assessment is gathered over the nursing shift and upon discharge.