Older adults have been especially impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, as they are at higher risk of serious illness if infected and account for 80 percent of all COVID-related deaths. Current public health guidelines recommend older adults limit in-person social interactions as much as possible. While this is effective in limiting exposure to disease, it contributes to social isolation and loneliness. In addition, many older adults are opting to forego routine health care visits and preventive care services as a result.
In October, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released data showing that 21 percent of Medicare beneficiaries report forgoing non-coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) care due to the pandemic, and nearly all – 98 percent – of beneficiaries have taken preventative measures to keep themselves safe from the virus.
Survey findings relate to many aspects of daily living, including preventive health behaviors, availability and use of telehealth, access to technology and the impact of COVID on overall well-being.
- The most commonly reported type of foregone care was dental care (43%)
- The most common reason the beneficiary decided to forego care was not wanting to risk being at a medical facility (45%)
- The most common reason the healthcare provider rescheduled the appointment was because their medical office was closed (38%)
- 23% of respondents reported feeling more lonely or sad and 46% reported feeling more stressed or anxious
An infographic with a snapshot of the survey results is available, as well as a link to the public use file detailing the survey results.
Great Plains Quality Innovation Network will continue to add resources, guidance and education related to COVID-19 on our Web site. We will do our best to provide relevant and timely information as it becomes available, including resources for individuals, caregivers and the healthcare provider community. As we navigate through this uncertain time, we thank you for your efforts every day to keep our community and family members safe.