• intervention;
  • loneliness;
  • nurse;
  • older people;
  • psychosocial rehabilitation

savikko n., routasalo p., tilvis r. & pitkälä k. (2009) Psychosocial group rehabilitation for lonely older people: favourable processes and mediating factors of the intervention leading to alleviated loneliness. International Journal of Older People Nursing 5, 16–24 doi: 10.1111/j.1748-3743.2009.00191.x

Background.  Loneliness among community-dwelling older people is a common problem, with serious health consequences.

Objectives.  The favourable processes and mediating factors of a psychosocial group rehabilitation intervention in alleviating older people’s loneliness were evaluated.

Design.  Altogether, 117 lonely, home-dwelling individuals (aged ≥ 75 years) participated in a psychosocial group rehabilitation intervention. The content comprised (i) art and inspiring activities, (ii) group exercise and discussions or (iii) therapeutic writing and group therapy.

Methods.  The psychosocial group rehabilitation intervention was evaluated from the group leaders’ diaries and by observing the groups. Experiences of loneliness and social participation were collected by postintervention questionnaires from the participants. Data were analysed using methodological triangulation.

Results.  Doing things together and sharing experiences with their peers inspired lively discussions, created a feeling of togetherness and led to participants’ empowerment and increased self-esteem. The intervention socially activated the participants, and their feelings of loneliness had been alleviated during the intervention.

Conclusion.  Several common favourable processes and mediating factors were identified in the psychosocial group rehabilitation intervention that led to alleviation of loneliness among older people.

Relevance to clinical practice.  The psychosocial group rehabilitation intervention gives nurses an effective tool to support older people’s psychosocial resources by activating them and alleviating their loneliness.