N Z Med J. 2022 Apr 1;135:77-81.
AIMS: The global COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns have affected the patterns of hospital presentations for non-COVID related illnesses. Apprehension and perceived risk of hospitalisation has been postulated to be a significant deterrent to presentation. This study aims to explore pandemic- and- lockdown-related concerns with regards to hospital admission from a patient’s perspective.
METHODS: A cross-sectional study was undertaken in the form of an inpatient questionnaire for patients admitted to a coronary care unit and the cardiology ward during the Level 4 lockdown. The questionnaire included six questions designed to gather patient perception of the impact of lockdown on their hospital presentation.
RESULTS: Out of 91 patients who completed the questionnaire, 41 (45%) were >70 years old. Twenty (22%) patients answered that lockdown delayed or affected their decision to present to hospital. Within this cohort, there was a statistical difference between those aged 70 years and younger, and those over 70 years old (16/50 (32%) versus 4/41 (10%), p=0.011).
CONCLUSIONS: Apprehension and concerns regarding the risk of COVID-19 was prevalent in a significant proportion of patients and affected/delayed their decision to present to hospital. This may partly explain lower rates of presentation during the pandemic.