The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound and pervasive impact on psychosocial health and disrupted care systems world-wide. Our research aims to assess the psychosocial impact of the pandemic and related changes in chronic care provision on COPD and heart failure patients.
A qualitative survey using semi-structured interviews was held among COPD and heart failure patients.
Setting and participants
Using randomized sampling, 23 patients with either COPD, heart failure or both were recruited to participate in semi-structured interviews. Interviews were held by phone or videocall. The survey was held during the summer of 2021, when strict national containment strategies were widely implemented but gradually loosened and vaccination was ongoing.
Inductive coding using Gioia’s approach was used to analyze the data in Atlas.Ti 9.1 software. Using an iterative approach, the data was synthesized in a data structure and data table, which was analyzed using an interpretative approach.
We found three aggregate dimensions in which the COVID-19 pandemic has a negative impact on psychosocial health of patients with chronic disease: 1) perceived vulnerability to disease, 2) influence of health policy, and 3) a mismatch of supply and demand of healthcare. In these dimensions, the impact of the COVID-19 crisis was found to have a negative impact on psychosocial wellbeing, compounded by national strategies to contain the pandemic and a disruption of chronic care for patients.
Conclusions and implications
Healthcare providers should be aware of a multidimensional nature of psychosocial distress for chronic disease patients due to the COVID-19 crisis. Future practice and health policy could be improved by increasing awareness amongst healthcare providers, promote regular attention for psychosocial wellbeing of patients, provision of clear information related to the pandemic and strategies to secure continuity of care. Results of this study might be further explored in larger studies.