Social Connectivity in Those 24 Months or Less Postsurgery

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PURPOSE:This purpose of this study is to characterize the prevalence of social isolation and determine the impact of influencing factors in a sample of adults with ostomies.SUBJECTS AND SETTINGS:Five hundred sixty adults with an ostomy, residing in North America and the United Kingdom, less than 24 months postsurgery, participated in the study.METHODS:Data were extracted from the Ostomy Comprehensive Health and Life Assessment (Hollister Incorporated, Libertyville, Illinois) electronic database. Data collection began in 2004; the database included approximately 3000 persons with an ostomy. This was a cross-sectional survey and not a clinical investigation. All survey respondents were provided complete anonymity. No identifying data were incorporated into the database, or held as a matter of record. We defined 2 groups characterized as polar opposites. They are (1) adults whose responses indicate they are very socially isolated or experience low levels of social support and display dissatisfaction or low levels of life satisfaction; and (2) adults whose responses indicate they are socially connected and displaying moderate or high levels of life satisfaction. I hypothesized that life-influencing differences exist within the gradient from high satisfaction and social connectivity to dissatisfaction and social isolation, and that these differences would be most evident in these 2 groups.RESULTS:Study findings support the hypothesis that social isolation and social connectivity are associated with different levels of life satisfaction. Statistically significant correlations between social isolation, emotional support, and life satisfaction are demonstrated. Furthermore, assessment of body image perception between the groups indicates statistically significant differences in perception. In addition, analysis reveals that pre- and postoperative nursing intervention significantly influences these outcomes.CONCLUSION:The study provides evidence that social isolation exists in some adults with ostomies, which is associated with low levels of life satisfaction and emotional support. A lack of social connectivity is identifiable and WOC nurses and other clinicians may incorporate counseling into their treatment regimens to facilitate its negative impact on life satisfaction following ostomy surgery.

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