A qualitative study on the elderly and accessibility to health services during the COVID-19 lockdown in Buenos Aires, Argentina – Part 2

Medwave. 2021 May 24;21(4):e8192. doi: 10.5867/medwave.2021.04.8192.

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: On March 19, 2020, a mandatory lockdown was imposed in Argentina due to the global pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2.

OBJECTIVES: To explore the elderlys healthcare experiences during the lockdown and the problems that may have arisen regarding accessibility to the healthcare system and emerging adaptations to medical care.

METHODS: We coded the data using Atlas.ti 8 software and then triangled the analysis among researchers from different backgrounds. Finally, concept maps were developed and themes arising from these were described.

RESULTS: Thirty-nine participants were interviewed from the metropolitan area in Buenos Aires from April to July of 2020. The main emerging themes were: 1) access to regularly scheduled consults, 2) access to chronic medication, 3) emergency consultations, and 4) the role of information and communication technologies. Accessibility to the healthcare system was compromised due to reduced outpatient consultations, affecting health checkups, diagnosis, and treatment. However, participants tried to keep their immunizations up to date. Information and communication technologies were used to fill digital prescriptions and online medical consultations. While this was a solution to many, others did not have access to these technologies or had trouble using them.

CONCLUSIONS: The global pandemic caused a reduction in outpatient medical consultations. Emerging needs originated new ways of carrying out medical consultations, mainly through information and communication technologies, which was a solution for many but led to the exclusion of others because of the preexisting technology gap.

PMID:34086668 | DOI:10.5867/medwave.2021.04.8192