Understanding the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on health-related quality of life amongst Iranian patients with beta thalassemia major: A grounded theory

Mahdieh Arian, Mojtaba Vaismoradi, Zahra Badiee, Mohsen Soleimani

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and the resulting measures can impact daily life and healthcare management amongst patients with beta thalassemia major. Methods: The Corbin and Strauss method of grounded theory was used to explore the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on health-related quality of life (HRQoL) amongst Iranian patients with beta thalassemia major. Semi-structured interviews with 16 patients with thalassemia major in the eastern of Iran were performed. Data collection was conducted from 19 September through 18 November 2020. Collected data were recorded, transcribed, and coded to develop themes and subthemes. Paradigm components were sought to find out what happened to these patients and explore the process and events. Results: Insights from these interviews led to five major themes: 'changing physical health', 'emotional and psychological reactions', 'changing the nature of relationships and the scope of social support', 'metamorphosis of ongoing healthcare, and 'functionality and adaptation to new realities.' The emerging core concept was labelled: 'maintaining well-being balance.' The COVID-19 pandemic disturbed the balance of life and health of the patients. Multiple strategies to maintain balance and reduce the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on HRQoL were used by the patients, the healthcare team, and support systems. Conclusions: Due to the fear of COVID-19, the patients with beta thalassemia were less likely to contact healthcare professionals. They considered postponing blood transfusion and abandoned evaluating disease complications. Reduced access to the healthcare system and shifting resources from existing programmes to COVID-19 by the healthcare system were incompatible policies. These policies and strategies had strong and negative effects on the physical domain of HRQoL. The patients experienced a deterioration of emotional functioning. They reported a strong reduction in social functioning and felt lonely. Online interventions supporting mental health and social interactions and telemedicine can help during the times of social distancing and lockdowns.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere67
Number of pages11
JournalPrimary Health Care Research and Development
Volume22
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10 Nov 2021
Externally publishedYes

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