Older adult’s longitudinal experiences of household isolation and social distancing during the COVID‐19 pandemic

Brooke, Joanne and Dunford, Sandra and Clark, Maria (2022) Older adult’s longitudinal experiences of household isolation and social distancing during the COVID‐19 pandemic. International Journal of Older People Nursing. e12459. ISSN 1748-3735

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Due to the global pandemic, governments have enforced household isolation and social distancing to reduce infection and mortality rate. However, the impact of prolonged enforced isolation for older people who are prone to social isolation and loneliness has yet to be understood.

A longitudinal study to understand the lived experience of people aged 70 and older, living in England during COVID-19 restrictions.

All participants completed five qualitative telephone interviews from 20 April to 7 July 2020. The majority completed individual interviews (n = 13), whilst two participants completed these interviews as a couple. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim and thematic analysis completed from the perspective of hermeneutic phenomenology.

Three themes included (1) engagement and confusion with government restrictions; (2) socialisation through virtual platforms and opportunistic physical social contact; and (3) accessing health care during COVID-19 restrictions.

Older people are committed to following government restrictions, and government campaigns need to consider the potential impact of placing an emphasis on avoiding healthcare services. Virtual platforms are supportive but not sufficient to reduce social isolation and loneliness of older people. Thus, nurses supporting older people living in the community need to understand these concepts to provide holistic care and support older people's mental and physical health.

Implications for practice
Nurses are ideally placed to support older people to understand the current government restrictions, when to attend acute healthcare services or to engage virtually with healthcare appointments, and to discuss the risks of physically socialising with others.

Item Type: Article
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1111/opn.12459
8 March 2022Accepted
23 March 2022Published Online
Uncontrolled Keywords: community care, COVID-19, older people, phenomenology, qualitative study
Subjects: CAH02 - subjects allied to medicine > CAH02-04 - nursing and midwifery > CAH02-04-01 - nursing (non-specific)
Divisions: Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences > Centre for Social Care, Health and Related Research (C-SHARR)
Depositing User: Joanne Brooke
Date Deposited: 06 Apr 2022 13:52
Last Modified: 06 Apr 2022 13:52
URI: https://www.open-access.bcu.ac.uk/id/eprint/13042

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