Many Have Skipped Medical Care During Pandemic

By Robert Preidt

HealthDay reporter

WEDNESDAY, February 17, 2021 (HealthDay News) – If you’ve postponed or omitted needed medical attention during the COVID-19 pandemic, you have plenty of company.

More than a third of American adults say they have delayed or gone without care either because they fear exposure to the virus or because health services are harder to find, according to two new surveys.

The same reasons have led almost as many parents to avoid looking after their children.

“Prolonged gaps in necessary medical care lead to health problems and could create long-term economic challenges as we come out of the pandemic,” said Mona Shah, senior program officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, who has funded surveys conducted by the Urban Institute, a nonprofit research organization.

“As fears of contracting the coronavirus in clinical settings subside, it will be vital that families have access to affordable health care and no longer delay care due to financial problems,” Shah said in a statement from foundation press.

Investigations, conducted in September, found that the delays had a cost.

One-third of adults who reported delaying or being left without care said that one or more of their health problems had worsened as a result, or that their ability to work or do other daily activities was limited .

Black adults were more likely than white or Hispanic adults to delay or forgo care (39.7% vs. 34.3% and 35.5%, respectively).

Among adults with one or more chronic health problems, 40.7% said they delayed or remained without care, according to the survey. More than half (56.3%) of adults with both a physical and mental health problem also postponed care.

Dental care was the most frequent victim (25.3%). One in five adults delayed or went without a visit to a GP or specialist, and 15.5% delayed or went without preventive care.

Among parents of children under 19, more than a quarter reported postponing or missing one or more types of health care appointments for their children; 15.6% said they delayed or skipped several types of care for their children.

Continued

This was more likely among lower income parents (19.6%) than among higher income parents (11.4%).

The results are from the Urban Institute’s Coronavirus Tracking Survey, a nationally representative survey of 18- to 64-year-olds and parents of children under 19.

Urban Institute associate researcher Dulce Gonzalez said the pandemic had caused children, especially those in low-income families, to miss a range of health needs.

“These gaps in care could harm the health, development and well-being of children – but targeted efforts to make up for missed care could help avoid exacerbating socio-economic inequalities,” she said. stated in the press release.

More information

The Mayo Clinic offers tips for seeing your doctor during the pandemic.

SOURCE: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, press release, February 16, 2021

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