News: Over one-third of adults delayed or skipped medical care because of the pandemic

CDI Strategies - Volume 15, Issue 8

Fearing exposure to COVID-19, combined with limited services caused by the pandemic, more than one-third of adults in the United States (36%) delayed or went without needed medical care, according to HealthLeaders. In addition, nearly 29% of parents delayed or went without care for their children under age 19 for the same reasons. The findings were published in two analyses by Urban Institute researchers and funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Going without needed treatment had consequences, as one-third of the adults (32.6%) who reported delaying or forgoing care said one or more of their health conditions worsened as a result, or their ability to work or perform other daily activities was limited.

Adults with one or more chronic health conditions reported delaying or forgoing care at a rate of nearly 41%, which is cause for concern, particularly for people whose health can deteriorate rapidly without careful monitoring and treatment. Mortality data suggest the pandemic has caused a surge in excess deaths from conditions such as diabetes, dementia, hypertension, heart disease, and stroke, the report says.

Black adults were more likely than white or Hispanic/Latino adults to report delaying or forgoing care (39.7% versus 34.3% and 35.5%, respectively) and more likely to report delaying or forgoing multiple types of care (28.5% versus 21.1% and 22.3%, respectively), according to the analyses.

Other findings included:

  • More than half of adults with both a physical and mental health condition (56.3%) reported delaying or skipping care.
  • Dental care was the most common type of care adults delayed or did not receive (25.3%).
  • One in five respondents (20.6%) delayed or went without a visit to a general doctor or specialist.
  • Slightly more than 15% delayed or went without some form of preventive care. 

Among parents with children under 19, researchers found that 28.8% reported their children had delayed or missed one or more types of healthcare due to the pandemic and 15.6% reported delaying or forgoing multiple types of care for their children, especially parents with lower incomes (19.6% versus 11.4% of parents with higher incomes).

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in HealthLeaders Media. To read more of ACDIS’ coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic, click here. To read more about the health disparities and inequalities between white and non-white COVID-19 patients, click here.

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