Aims and objectives. Hypothesised that sociodemographic factors and illness variables would be associated with mortality and that emotional and social loneliness measured using the Social Provisions Scale would influence mortality among nursing homes residents with cancer.
Background. Studies are lacking on how emotional and social loneliness influence mortality among cognitively intact older people in nursing homes with and without a diagnosis of cancer.
Design. A cross-sectional design was used at baseline with a five-year follow-up of mortality.
Methods. A cohort of 227 cognitively intact (Clinical Dementia Rating scale score ≤0·5) older residents (60 with cancer and 167 without) from 30 nursing homes were followed from 2004–2005 to 2010. Data were collected by face-to-face interview. Sociodemographic variables and medical diagnoses were obtained from the records.
Results. Survival did not differ significantly between residents with and without cancer. After adjustment for sociodemographic and illness variables, increasing age, higher education and comorbidity were associated with mortality. In the final model from a backward selection procedure, attachment (emotional loneliness) was associated with mortality.
Conclusions. Independent of a cancer diagnosis or not, emotional loneliness, age, education and comorbidity influenced mortality among nursing homes residents without cognitive impairment.
Relevance to clinical practice. Nurses should pay attention to emotional loneliness among nursing homes residents independent of cancer and especially give attention to the importance to have a close confidant who provides emotional support.