“I have travelled along on my own”—Experiences of seeking help for serious non-COVID health problems during the COVID-19 pandemic: A qualitative study

Parretti, Helen ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7184-269X, Belderson, Pippa, Eborall, Helen, Naughton, Felix, Loke, Yoon, Steel, Nick ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1528-140X, Bachmann, Max O. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1770-3506 and Hardeman, Wendy ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6498-9407 (2022) “I have travelled along on my own”—Experiences of seeking help for serious non-COVID health problems during the COVID-19 pandemic: A qualitative study. British Journal of Health Psychology. ISSN 1359-107X

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Objectives: During COVID-19 the UK general population has been given strong messages to stay at home. Concurrently unprecedented changes occurred in healthcare access with moves to remote/triage systems. Data have shown that the number of people accessing healthcare services decreased and there are significant concerns that the pandemic has negatively affected help-seeking for serious conditions, with potentially increased morbidity and mortality. An understanding of help-seeking is urgently needed to inform public campaigns. We aimed to develop an in-depth, theory-based understanding of how, when and why people sought help for potentially serious symptoms (for example, related to major cardiovascular events or cancer diagnoses) during the pandemic, and what influenced their decisions. Design: Qualitative semi-structured interviews Methods: We interviewed 25 adults recruited through a targeted social media campaign. Interviews were conducted via telephone or online platform. Our topic guide was informed by the Model of Pathways to Treatment and the Capability-Opportunity-Motivation-Behaviour model. Results: Analysis identified four main themes: Delay in recognition, Holding on to concerns, Weighing it up and Long-term impacts. Multiple societal and environmental factors influenced participants’ help-seeking and motivation, capability and opportunity to seek help, with long-term impacts on well-being and future help-seeking. Conclusions: There is a need for clear guidance about pathways to raise concerns about symptoms and gain advice while usual healthcare contacts are paused or stopped. Recommendations for future interventions to support help-seeking during pandemics include clearer messaging, co-produced with end users, on when, where and how to seek help.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Funding Information: This study was funded by University of East Anglia (UEA) Health and Social Care Partners.
Uncontrolled Keywords: access,behaviour,covid-19,healthcare,help-seeking,pandemic,applied psychology,sdg 3 - good health and well-being ,/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/3200/3202
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Norwich Medical School
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > School of Health Sciences
Related URLs:
Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 28 Jul 2022 09:30
Last Modified: 02 Aug 2022 10:30
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/86960
DOI: 10.1111/bjhp.12615

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