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Publication Detail
Exploring the awareness, attitudes, and actions (AAA) of UK adults at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Authors:
    Flint SW, Brown A, Sanders G, Tahrani AA
  • Publisher:
    Public Library of Science (PLoS)
  • Publication date:
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  • Issue:
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  • Keywords:
    COVID 19, Medical risk factors, Mental health and psychiatry, Pandemics, Cardiovascular disease risk, Psychological attitudes, Qualitative studies, Surveys
  • Notes:
    Copyright © 2021 Flint et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Background: People at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19 have experienced greater restrictions during the pandemic, yet there is a paucity of research exploring their lived experience. / Objectives: This study explored the impact of COVID-19 on people identified as at high risk of severe illness by UK Government, and in particular, the impact of the first lockdown on access to healthcare, medications and use of technological platforms. / Methods: 1038 UK adults who identified as at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19 in line with UK Government guidance or self-identified with acute or other chronic health conditions, completed the Awareness, Attitudes and Actions survey which explored the impact of COVID-19 on access to healthcare, management of long-term health condition, mental health, and health behaviours. / Results: Most participants reported feelings of vulnerability, anxiety and isolation, noticed that other people changed their behaviour towards them including a feeling of being stigmatised by people not categorised as high risk. Participants described the largely negative impact that the COVID-19 lockdown had on to health-related behaviours and access to healthcare, which had resulted in large declines in mental health and wellbeing. Participants also indicated disappointment at the UK Governments response and handling of the COVID-19 lockdown. / Implications: This study provides novel evidence of the lived experience of the first COVID-19 lockdown for people identified as at high risk of severe illness. In the context of behavioural health interventions, the ubiquity of digital technologies and their adoption into day-to-day life translates into greater potential reach than traditional interventions, and consequently, greater potential for positive public health impact. Findings should be considered by policymakers and healthcare professionals to support people now and as we transition through the recovery phase with a particular emphasis on supporting mental health and changes to the management of long-term health conditions.
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