|Title||Factors Associated with Healthcare Delays Among Adults Over 50 During the COVID-19 Pandemic.|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2023|
|Authors||C Y Chan, A, Sneed, RS|
|Journal||The Journals of Gerontology, Series A|
|Keywords||COVID-19, geographical region, healthcare delay, Race/ethnicity|
BACKGROUND: Adults over 50 have high healthcare needs, but also face high coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)-related vulnerability. This may result in reluctance to enter public spaces, including healthcare settings. Here, we examined factors associated with healthcare delays among adults over 50 early in the COVID-19 pandemic.
METHODS: Using data from the 2020 wave of the Health and Retirement Study (N=7615), we evaluated how race/ethnicity, age, geographic region, and pandemic-related factors were associated with healthcare delays.
RESULTS: In our sample, 3 in 10 participants who were interviewed from March 2020 to June 2021 reported delays in medical or dental care in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. Non-Hispanic Whites (OR: 1.37; 95% CI: 1.19-1.58) and those of other racial/ethnic backgrounds (OR: 1.31; 95% CI: 1.02-1.67) delayed care more than Non-Hispanic Blacks. Other factors associated with delayed care included younger age, living in the Midwest or West, knowing someone diagnosed with or who died from COVID-19, and having high COVID-19-related concerns. There were no differences in care delays among adults aged >70; however, among those ≤70, those who knew someone diagnosed with COVID-19 were more likely to delay care than those who did not. Additionally, among those ≤70, Non-Hispanic Whites and those of other racial/ethnic backgrounds delayed care more than Non-Hispanic Blacks and Hispanics.
CONCLUSIONS: There is considerable heterogeneity in care delays among older adults based on age, race/ethnicity, and pandemic-related factors. As the pandemic continues, future studies should examine whether these patterns persist.