Coping strategies used by older adults to deal with contact isolation in the hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic

Jogé Boumans*, Aukelien Scheffelaar, Vera P. Van Druten, Tessel H. G. Hendriksen, Lenny M. W. Nahar-van Venrooij, Andrea D. Rozema

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
74 Downloads (Pure)


Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many older adults have experienced contact isolation in a hospital setting which leads to separation from relatives, loss of freedom, and uncertainty regarding disease status. The objective of this study was to explore how older adults (55+) cope with contact isolation in a hospital setting during the COVID-19 pandemic in order to improve their physical and psychological wellbeing. The realist evaluation approach was used to formulate initial program theories on coping strategies used by (older) adults in an isolation setting. Twenty-one semi-structured interviews with older patients (n = 21) were analysed. This study revealed that both emotion-focused coping strategies as well as problem-focused coping strategies were used by older adults during contact isolation. The study also uncovered some new specific coping strategies. The results have useful implications for hospital staff seeking to improve the wellbeing of older adults in contact isolation in hospitals. Problem-focused coping strategies could be stimulated through staff performing care in a person-centred way. Trust in staff, as part of emotion-focused coping strategies, could be stimulated by improving the relationship between patients and staff.
Original languageEnglish
Article number7317
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • AGE
  • COVID-19
  • contact isolation
  • coping strategy
  • hospital setting
  • older adults
  • realist evaluation


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