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Madrigal C, Bower E, Simons K, Gillespie SM, Van Orden K, Mills WL. Assessing Social Functioning During COVID-19 and Beyond: Tools and Considerations for Nursing Home Staff. Journal of The American Medical Directors Association. 2021 Oct 1; 22(10):1989-1997.
Social functioning is defined as how a person operates in their unique social environment (ie, engagement in activities, connectedness with others, and contributions to social roles). Healthy social functioning is important for nursing home residents as they are at increased risk for loneliness and isolation. Social functioning has long been an underacknowledged aspect of nursing home residents'' health, but now, with the COVID-19 pandemic, residents'' risk for decreased social functioning is increased. Several reliable and well-validated tools are available to supplement routine care planning and delivery and track and improve changes in social functioning over time. The overarching aim of this article is to provide resources and recommendations for interdisciplinary team assessment related to social functioning for nursing home residents. We describe 2 domains of social functioning measures, care-planning measures and outcome measures, and provide recommendations for how to integrate said measures into practice. Healthy social functioning is needed to maintain nursing home residents'' well-being and quality of life. Measures and recommendations outlined in this article can be used by nursing home staff to understand residents'' social preferences and address social functioning during COVID-19 and beyond.