UBC Faculty Research and Publications

The Psychosocial Impact of COVID-19 on Older Adults with Cancer: A Rapid Review Verma, Ridhi; Kilgour, Heather; Haase, Kristen


Background: Older adults with cancer are amongst the most vulnerable population to be negatively impacted by COVID-19 due to their likelihood of comorbidities and compromised immune status. Considering the longevity of the pandemic, understanding the subjective perceptions and psychosocial concerns of this population may help ameliorate the psychological aftermath. In this review, we systematically analyze the literature surrounding the psychosocial impact and coping strategies among older adults with cancer within the context of COVID-19. Methods: We conducted a rapid review of literature following PRISMA guidelines between January 2020 to August 2021 using (1) MEDLINE, (2) Embase, (3) CINAHL, and (4) PsychINFO and keyword searches for “cancer” and “COVID-19” focused on adults 65 years or older. Results: Of the 6597 articles screened, 10 met the inclusion criteria. Based on the included articles, the psychosocial impact of COVID-19 was reported under four domains, (1) impact of COVID-19 on quality of life (QoL), (2) concerns related to COVID-19, (3) coping with the impact of COVID-19, and (4) recommendations for future care. Results pertaining to perceived quality of life were inconsistent across the included articles. The most common concerns related to: contracting COVID-19, survivorship transitions, and feelings of isolation. Coping strategies reported by older adults included: spiritual care, lived experience, acceptance, and positive reinterpretation. Conclusions: We found many psychosocial impacts of the pandemic on older adults with cancer. The findings from this review can inform interventions related to shared decision-making and tailored patient care in the future.

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