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Public Health ; 207: 119-126, 2022 Jun.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1867698


OBJECTIVES: The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of access to telehealth as an alternative model of service during social restrictions and for urban and remote communities alike. This study aimed to elucidate whether First Nations and culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) patients also benefited from the resource before or during the pandemic. STUDY DESIGN: This study was a scoping review. METHODS: A scoping review of MEDLINE, CINAHL and PsycINFO databases from 2000 to 2021 was performed. Paired authors independently screened titles, abstracts and full texts. A narrative synthesis was undertaken after data extraction using a standard template by a team including First Nations and CALD researchers. RESULTS: Seventeen studies (N = 4,960 participants) mostly qualitative, covering First Nations and CALD patient recipients of telehealth in the United States, Canada, Australia, and the Pacific Islands, met the inclusion criteria. Telehealth was perceived feasible, satisfactory, and acceptable for the delivery of health screening, education, and care in mental health, diabetes, cancer, and other chronic conditions for remote and linguistically isolated populations. The advantages of convenience, lower cost, and less travel promoted uptake and adherence to the service, but evidence was lacking on the wider availability of technology and engagement of target communities in informing priorities to address inequalities. CONCLUSIONS: Further studies with larger samples and higher level evidence methods involving First Nations and CALD people as co-designers will assist in filling the gap of safety and cultural competency.

COVID-19 , Telemedicine , Cultural Diversity , Feasibility Studies , Humans , Pandemics , Personal Satisfaction
Aging Health Res ; 2(2): 100073, 2022 Jun.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1777920


Background: Older people's vulnerability during a pandemic may extend to social connectedness, access to healthcare, and information delivery. We sought to identify whether and how older community-based patients are maintaining connections and accessing information during COVID-19. Methods: We administered a telephone questionnaire to all patients (or carer/proxy answering 'on patient's behalf') who previously attended our Geriatric Medicine clinic, May-December 2019. Results: Response rate was 58.8% (151/257), carer respondents comprising 23.8% (36/151). Mean patient age was 81.8 years (SD 8.6); 59.6% were female, 15.2% lived alone. English was the preferred language for 72.9% (110/151). Almost half (46.4%, 70/151) felt COVID-related restrictions had impacted them. Thirty-eight percent (58/151) reported feelings of social isolation, most (38/58) reporting this new since COVID. Nonetheless, 92.1% (139/151) reported maintaining social connections, all with family (139/139), less often with friends (69.8%, 97/139). COVID-related information sources included television 68.9% (104/151), family/friends (54.3%), healthcare providers (24.5%), and written sources (21.2%, 32/151); 12.6% used online resources. Increasing age lowered likelihood of accessing online information, while having smartphone/computer increased. Most (82.6%) believed their healthcare needs were being met, and 76.1% had accessed their GP, 87% (100/115) in-person. Only 33.1% (50/151) agreed telehealth acceptable, more often those with smartphone/computer (OR 2.15, p=0.04). Conclusions: Interventions to reduce isolation and optimize connectedness and healthcare- despite physical distancing- are important during COVID-19. During a rapidly evolving pandemic, healthcare delivery and information provision to our older population is likely best served by a multifaceted approach which acknowledges identified preferences, practices and barriers.