“This path I must walk alone”. Challenges experienced by older patients while recovering from severe COVID-19 – a qualitative study
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionBMC Geriatrics. 2022, 22 (1), . https://doi.org/10.1186/s12877-022-02959-y
Background: In March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic challenged both the Norwegian population and healthcare system. In this study we explored how older men and women experienced rehabilitation and recovery after hospitalisation due to severe COVID-19. Methods: Semi-structured interviews with 17 participants aged 60–96 years were performed 6 months after discharge from hospital. A thematic descriptive analysis was conducted. Results: The results revealed that the participants experienced a challenging span between loneliness and companionship in recovering from severe COVID-19. The four subthemes highlighted experiences of being discharged to home and left to themselves, the importance of exercise and companionship at rehabilitation stay, requirement of self-effort and time to recover, and the challenging span between loneliness and companionship when being with family. Conclusion: Among participants, the experiences of loneliness throughout the recovery period were striking. An individualised approach including psychological support should be emphasized in primary healthcare to promote recovery in older survivors after severe COVID-19 and their next-of-kin.