OBJECTIVES: To examine whether loneliness is independently associated with emergency hospitalization and planned hospital inpatient admissions in a population sample of older adults.
DESIGN: Nationally representative cross-sectional interviews in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.
SETTING: Private homes in the community.
PARTICIPANTS: Randomly selected older people in the community (aged ≥65, N=2,033).
MEASUREMENTS: Emergency hospitalization and planned hospital admissions.
RESULTS: Eleven percent of the sample had an emergency hospitalization, and 15% had a planned hospital admission. Forty-two percent reported being bothered by loneliness. A higher frequency of loneliness was associated with emergency hospitalization only (odds ratio=1.29, 95% confidence interval=1.08–1.55), and this association was independent of a range of potential confounders in multivariate analysis.
CONCLUSION: In this community-based sample of older adults, greater loneliness was independently associated with emergency hospitalization but not planned inpatient admissions.