Programme no. 329-OP
Professional Development
Do the General Practitioners know their elderly patients’ social relations and perception of loneliness?
Frans Boch Waldorff*1, Volkert Siersma2, Tina Druud Due3, Thorkil Thorsen4
1Department of Public Health, University of Copenhagen,The Research Unit and Section of General Practice,Copenhagen,Denmark;Department of Public Health, University of Southern Denmark,The Research Unit of General Practice,Odense,Denmark, 2Department of Public Health, University of Copenhagen,The Research Unit and Section of General Practice,Copenhagen,Denmark, 3Department of Public Health, University of Copenhagen,The Research Unit and Section of General Practice,Copenhagen,Denmark, 4Department of Public Health, University of Copenhagen,The Research Unit and Section of General Practice,Copenhagen,Denmark
* = Presenting author
Objectives: To describe and analyze the correlation between elderly patients’ social relations and perception of loneliness with the general practitioners impression.
Background: Social relations and perception of loneliness affects elderly patients’ quality of life, morbidity and even mortality. General practice provides person centered, continuing, comprehensive and coordinated person health care to individuals and families in their communities. The often long term relationships build mutual knowledge, understanding, and trust. Therefore we found it of interest to evaluate the correlation between GP perception of elderly patients’ social relations and loneliness as compared to their patients’ statements.
Results: A total of 767 patients were eligible and 293 were excluded mainly due to patients refusing to participate. Thus, a total of 474 patients were included and 461 patients completed the relevant items and 449 GP corresponding questionnaires were collected. In general, the correlation between patient statements and the GP statements were low (kappa between 0.10-0.26). The GPs overestimated the patients’ social relations and underestimated their loneliness.
Material/Methods: Survey among 12 general practices with 20 GPs in the Capital Region. During a 3 week period each practice consecutively asked their elderly patients to fill out a questionnaire regarding health, social relations and perception of loneliness. The GPs completed a corresponding questionnaire stating their impression of social relations and loneliness. Data was collected during February to September 2014.
Conclusion: Even though social relations and loneliness affects the elderly patients’ quality of life, morbidity and mortality the GPs impression do not correlate with patient statements.
Points for discussion: How come the correlation between GPs impression and patient statements regarding social relations and loneliness is poor?

Is it relevant for GPs to explore into patients loneliness?