Reducing social isolation of seniors during COVID-19 through medical student telephone contact
Social isolation has been associated with many adverse health outcomes in older adults. We describe a phone call outreach program in which health care professional student volunteers phoned older adults, living in long-term care facilities and the community, at risk of social isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic. Conversation topics were related to coping, including fears or insecurities, isolation, and sources of support; health; and personal topics such as family and friends, hobbies, and life experiences. Student volunteers felt the calls were impactful both for the students and for the seniors, and call recipients expressed appreciation for receiving the calls and for the physicians who referred them for a call. This phone outreach strategy is easily generalizable and can be adopted by medical schools to leverage students to connect to socially isolated seniors in numerous settings.
Office EE, Rodenstein MS, Merchant TS, Pendergrast TR, Lindquist LA. Reducing social isolation of seniors during COVID-19 through medical student telephone contact. J Am Med Dir Assoc. 2020;21(7):948-950. PMID: 32674825. DOI: 10.1016/j.jamda.2020.06.003.