Impact of the COVID‑19 pandemic response on chronic disease management (CDM) and quality of life (QOL) among Indigenous and Black communities in Ontario

Koné Péfoyo, Anna J | $293,378

Ontario Lakehead University 2022 CIHR Operating Grant

The increasing burden of multimorbidity (MMB) has revealed challenges of the health system to adequately manage persons with ongoing care needs for chronic diseases (CD). CD and moreso MMB require regular care management (CDM) for patients’ wellbeing, positive outcomes and quality of life (QOL). Patients are often faced with lack of care integration or access to adequate care. These issues can be exacerbated in black and indigenous populations, likely more severely impacted by the policy response to COVID‑19 pandemic, in place under the auspice of social good. Appropriate CDM and support for people with CD are key to improving their overall health status. The ongoing pandemic has further demonstrated the importance of considering disease cooccurrence in risk factors assessment and care management. It has also highlighted the limitations of the system to adequately respond to increasing health and wellbeing needs and face competing priorities. In the midst of the pandemic, there were reductions in service offering to respond to the crisis. Inevitably, this impacted the care of those already having difficulty navigating the system for their ongoing health needs, including patients with cancer, diabetes, dementia, or ID. The objectives of the proposed research are to: 1.Assess & better understand the impacts of the pandemic policy response for people living with CD who are members of Black and Indigenous communities; 2.Learn about approaches offered for CDM during the pandemic, their success/challenges; 3.Provide recommendations for policy responses and care approaches that are informed by anti-oppressive and intersectional ways, overall and in future emergencies. We will use a mixed-method approach including a survey and interviews. The study will target NW Ontario, including rural areas and Indigenous communities, plus Black communities in the GTA. Data will include SES, access to care, QOL, HCU, CDM and challenges, successes both before and during the pandemic, etc.

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