Measuring the impact of COVID-19 on the quality of life of the survivors, partners and family members: a cross-sectional international online survey

BMJ Open. 2021 May 25;11(5):e047680. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2020-047680.


OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to measure the impact of COVID-19 on the quality of life (QoL) of survivors and their partners and family members.

DESIGN AND SETTING: A prospective cross-sectional global online survey using social media.

PARTICIPANTS: Patients with COVID-19 and partners or family members (age ≥18 years).

INTERVENTION: Online survey from June to August 2020.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: The EuroQol group five dimensions three level (EQ-5D-3L) to measure the QoL of survivors of COVID-19, and the Family Reported Outcome Measure (FROM-16) to assess the impact on their partner/family member’s QoL.

RESULTS: The survey was completed by 735 COVID-19 survivors (mean age=48 years; females=563) at a mean of 12.8 weeks after diagnosis and by 571 partners and 164 family members (n=735; mean age=47 years; females=246) from Europe (50.6%), North America (38.5%) and rest of the world (10.9%). The EQ-5D mean score for COVID-19 survivors was 8.65 (SD=1.9, median=9; range=6-14). 81.1% (596/735) reported pain and discomfort, 79.5% (584/735) problems with usual activities, 68.7% (505/735) anxiety and depression and 56.2% (413/735) problems with mobility. Hospitalised survivors (20.1%, n=148) and survivors with existing health conditions (30.9%, n=227) reported significantly more problems with mobility and usual activities (p<0.05), with hospitalised also experiencing more impact on self-care (p≤0.001). Among 735 partners and family members, the mean FROM-16 score (maximum score=highest impact =32) was 15 (median=15, range=0-32). 93.6% (688/735) reported being worried, 81.7% (601/735) frustrated, 78.4% (676/735) sad, 83.3% (612/735) reported impact on their family activities, 68.9% (507/735) on sleep and 68.1% (500/735) on their sex life.

CONCLUSION: COVID-19 survivors reported a major persisting impact on their physical and psychosocial health. The lives of their partners and other family members were also severely affected. There is a need for a holistic support system sensitive to the needs of COVID-19 survivors and their family members who experience a major ‘secondary burden’.

PMID:34035105 | DOI:10.1136/bmjopen-2020-047680