IJERPH, Vol. 19, Pages 15712: Emotional Impact and Perception of Support in Nursing Home Residents during the COVID-19 Lockdown: A Qualitative Study (International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health)
Social isolation measures implemented in nursing homes during the COVID-19 pandemic generated occupational imbalance, discomfort, and mental health impairment in residents. We aimed to analyze the lived experience of elderly nursing home residents during the lockdown and social contact restrictions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods: Exploratory qualitative study. Information was collected through in-depth interviews and field notes. An inductive thematic analysis was performed and international recommendations for the development of qualitative studies were followed. Results: Twenty-four participants residing in nursing homes were included. Two main themes were identified: (1) emotional impact of the experience of COVID-19 lockdown (subthemes: experience of contradictory feelings; illness and death; importance of routine; feeling busy; and role of religious beliefs); and (2) support as a therapeutic tool (subthemes: family support; peer support; and professional support). Conclusion: Social restrictions by COVID-19 caused significant changes in residents’ occupations and routines, producing fear, loneliness, and abandonment of desired occupations; however, very important supports were also identified that helped to overcome the lockdown, such as social support, spirituality, and gratitude.