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Social relations and healthcare utilisation among middle-aged and older people: study protocol for an implementation and register-based study in Denmark

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Background: While previous research establishes an association between social relations, health and use of healthcare services among older people, how to implement this knowledge in real-life settings has received much less attention. This study will explore the relationship between social relations, health and use of healthcare services in a Danish mid-life population sample. In addition, the study will explore individual and contextual factors affecting the implementation of a group-based life story intervention aimed at establishing and strengthening social relations among older people at nursing homes in Denmark.

Methods/design: A combined quantitative register-based approach and a qualitative implementation approach will be applied in this study. First, we will quantitatively analyse the relationship between social relations, health status and use of healthcare services among middle-aged people in Denmark by linking survey data on social relations, loneliness, self-perceived health and disease status from the Copenhagen Aging and Midlife Biobank (CAMB) (n = 7191) with national registries through the Public Health Database on use of healthcare services and demographic and socioeconomic factors. Second, we will qualitatively analyse individual and contextual factors affecting the implementation process of the group-based life story intervention based on semi-structured interviews (n = 16), observations and field notes with and among intervention stakeholders, i.e., participants and group leaders facilitating the intervention.

Discussion: The results of this study are expected to improve knowledge about mechanisms through which social relations are associated with health status and use of healthcare services and to inform the implementation of future interventions targeting social relations among older people at nursing homes.

Trial registration: The study has been registered and approved by the Danish Data Protection Agency. Seperate approvals have been attained for the qualitative data (Approval No. SUND-2016-08), and for the quantitative data in the CAMB database which has also received approval from the local ethical committee (approval No.H-A-2008-126 and No. 2013–41-1814, respectively).
Original languageEnglish
Article number728
JournalB M C Health Services Research
Volume17
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
ISSN1472-6963
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2017

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