Impact of the first wave of COVID-19 on the health and psychosocial well-being of M?ori, Pacific Peoples and New Zealand Europeans living in aged residential care

Presenter: Gary Cheung (The University of Auckland, New Zealand)

Abstract for the International workshop on COVID-19 and Long-Term Care systems: What have we learnt and what policies do we need to strengthen LTC systems?, 6 and 7th December 2021

Abstract:

Objective: To investigate the impact of New Zealand’s (NZ) first wave of COVID-19, which included a nationwide lockdown, on the health and psychosocial well-being of M?ori, Pacific Peoples and NZ Europeans in aged residential care (ARC). 

Methods: interRAI assessments of M?ori, Pacific Peoples, and NZ Europeans (aged 60 years and over) completed between 21/3/2020 and 8/6/2020 were compared with assessments of the same ethnicities during the same period in the previous year (21/3/2019 to 8/6/2019). Physical, cognitive, psychosocial and service utilisation indicators were included in the bivariate analyses. 

Results: A total of 538 M?ori, 276 Pacific Peoples and 11,322 NZ Europeans had an interRAI assessment during the first wave of COVID-19; while there were 549 M?ori, 248 Pacific Peoples and 12,367 NZ Europeans in the comparative period. Fewer M?ori reported feeling lonely (7.8% versus 4.5%, p=0.021) but more NZ Europeans reported severe depressive symptoms (6.9% versus 6.3%, p=0.028) during COVID-19.  Lower rates of hospitalization were observed in M?ori (7.4% versus 10.9%, p=0.046) and NZ Europeans (8.1% versus 9.4%, p<0.001) during COVID-19. 

Conclusion: We found a lower rate of loneliness in M?ori but a higher rate of depression in NZ European ARC populations during the first wave of COVID-19. Further research, including qualitative studies with ARC staff, residents and families, and different ethnic communities is needed to explain these ethnic group differences. Longer-term effects from the COVID-19 pandemic on ARC populations should also be investigated.

Publication:

Cheung, G., Bala, S., Lyndon, M., Ma’u, E, Rivera-Rodriguez, C., Waters, D.L., Jamieson, H., Nada-Raja, S, Chan, A.H.Y., Beyene, K., Meehan, B., Walker, X. (2021). Impact of the first wave of COVID-19 on the health and psychosocial well-being of M?ori, Pacific Peoples and New Zealand Europeans living in aged residential care. Australasian Journal on Ageing. In press

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