Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Loneliness and Heart Disease, Part 2 of 3: How can providers measure loneliness?

Loneliness has been linked to poorer health outcomes and increased healthcare utilization. The UCLA Loneliness Scale is an evidence based tool that accurately assesses loneliness among patients. This tool is free for anyone to use, and you do not need permission to use it from its creator. You will notice that the scale does not ever use the word “lonely” and simply asks questions that are closely related to feeling lonely. 

Another tool to help measure loneliness (and other social and behavioral determinants of health) is the Protocol for Responding to and Assessing Patients’ Assets, Risks, andExperiences (PRAPARE), a national effort to help health centers and other providers collect the data needed to better understand and act on their patients’ social determinants of health. With data on the social determinants of health, health centers and other providers can define and document the increased complexity of their patients, transform care with integrated services and community partnerships to meet the needs of their patients, advocate for change in their communities, and demonstrate the value they bring to patients, communities, and payers.

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