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NUMC Physicians Publish Research on Impact of Social Support on Quality of Life

Nassau Health Care Corporation

NUMC Physicians Publish Research on Impact of Social Support on Quality of Life

East Meadow, N.Y., March 16, 2022 – Physicians in Nassau University Medical Center’s (NUMC) Department of Cardiology recently published the results of a study, conducted at NUMC, in the Journal of Patient Experience. Their research found perceived social support was directly associated with higher quality of life, treatment compliance, and substance use avoidance in cardiovascular patients. This study provides valuable insight into the specific healthcare needs of patients served by safety-net hospitals like NUMC and other low-cost providers.

Nassau Health Care Corporation is proud to announce that physicians in Nassau University Medical Center’s Department of Cardiology recently published an article in the Journal of Patient Experience. The article documents a two-month study of NUMC cardiac patients to evaluate whether perceived social support – that is, the presence of family, friends, and significant others – affected patients’ quality of life and treatment compliance, including appointment attendance and continued use of prescribed medications and lifestyle modifications.

Titled “Perceived Social Support and its Effect on Treatment Compliance and Quality of Life in Cardiac Patients,” the study addresses one of the most underestimated factors in health and patient outcomes: social support. Broadly, Chairman of the Department of Cardiology Dr. Amgad Makaryus and his research team wanted to know if patients with a support network of family and friends continued treatment for chronic heart conditions at higher rates than those who felt alone.

The study evaluated 96 cardiac patients in NUMC’s outpatient and inpatient telemetry units between January and March 2020. Patients completed a Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support (MSPSS) survey to score their perceived social support from three sources: family, friends and significant others. The research team then developed a supplemental lifestyle questionnaire to assess compliance to medications and lifestyle interventions (like diet changes and exercise regimes), as well as marital status, living situation, ethnicity, and subjective quality of life. Their study determined that patients who reported higher perceived social support were significantly more likely to attend medical appointments and more likely to abstain from tobacco, alcohol and illicit drugs). As they conclude in the study, “…ensuring patients have a strong foundation of support whether it be from friends, family, or significant others can tremendously aid in the motivation to stay disciplined with global treatments for cardiovascular conditions.”

This research is important, Dr. Makaryus explained, because patients only benefit from treatment plans if and when those plans align with their overall needs, including social support. Social networks play an important role in a patient’s access to healthcare, especially in underserved communities. Friends and family often provide transport and housing, monitor prescription adherence, and provide needed comfort during times of physical and mental duress. Without the necessary social support to overcome these economic or social barriers to healthcare (also known as social determinants of health), patients may not be able to adhere to their treatment plan, and may experience reduced health outcomes as a result.

For safety net hospitals and other low to no cost healthcare providers, the results of this study suggest physicians should be attentive to, and prepare treatment plans that account for, the social variable of health. It serves as a call-to-action for physicians at all levels of health care to inquire about patients’ social profiles. As Dr. Makaryus notes, it is only with full knowledge of a patient’s unique situation that medical professionals and social workers can create effective treatment plans, which may include paths to housing, transportation, and other forms of social support.

Nassau Health Care Corporation congratulates Drs. Amgad Makaryus, Roman Zeltser, Peter Wenn, Daniel Meshovrer, and Megan Barber and researchers Atif Ghaffar, Marisha Razka, and Stephanie Jose on their successful publication and continued dedication to our hospital’s mission: to provide high-quality, affordable healthcare to all patients regardless of their ability to pay. This outstanding achievement is yet another testament to the rigorous academic and research environment at Nassau University Medical Center.

With over eight decades of history in the area, Nassau University Medical Center serves as the region’s premier Level I trauma center, treating critically injured patients as well as providing coordinated medical care to Long Island residents at every stage of life. Nassau University Medical Center is committed to its mission of providing the community with outstanding, and compassionate state-of-the-art medical and surgical care.


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