The impact of social isolation on the mental and physical wellbeing of people receiving care at home has been revealed in a new report.
Scottish regulator, the Care Inspectorate, has published an inquiry looking at the response to the pandemic from services across all 31 health and social care partnerships (HSCPs) in Scotland.
It found that 81% of service providers noted problems with people experiencing increased social isolation during lockdown.
Increased levels of anxiety and stress were common among service users, the regulator said, and were closely connected to a disruption of people’s daily activities and a lack of physical activity.
Meanwhile, a third of providers found that their clients faced difficulty accessing healthcare or chose not to access health services during the pandemic.
The providers noted these difficulties had “adversely impacted” the health and wellbeing of service users.
The Care Inspectorate found that digital inclusion was important to reduce the negative impacts of lockdown restrictions, such as social isolation.
It noted positive examples of how people were supported by technology to see their families and carers via online platforms, but said there was a “digital divide”, where some older people were less likely to be confident with technologically supported means of social contact.
The regulator recommended that HSCPs should consider incorporating into their eligibility and priority frameworks the emerging lessons about the impact of social isolation and restricted movement on the physical and mental health and wellbeing of people who experience care.