Home Medizin Viele ältere Menschen machen sich bei der Erwägung einer Operation Sorgen über Kosten, arbeitsunfähige Tage und das Risiko einer Ansteckung mit COVID-19

Viele ältere Menschen machen sich bei der Erwägung einer Operation Sorgen über Kosten, arbeitsunfähige Tage und das Risiko einer Ansteckung mit COVID-19

von NFI Redaktion

When older adults consider undergoing surgery, their decision is not only based on the level of pain they anticipate or the speed of recovery, but also on financial concerns, the potential for missed work, and fears of contracting COVID-19. A recent study revealed that a majority of those who had significant concerns about these issues ultimately decided not to undergo the planned surgery. The data, published in JAMA Network Open by the University of Michigan Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation, can inform policymakers, surgical teams, and employers.

The study analyzed data from the National Poll on Healthy Aging, which found that nearly half of older adults contemplating surgery had concerns about the cost, time off work, or the risk of COVID-19. The survey is funded by AARP and Michigan Medicine, the University of Michigan’s academic medical center.

Dr. Nicholas Berlin, a surgeon at the University of Michigan Medical School, shared that he now spends more time discussing the financial and employment impacts of surgery with his patients, as he has witnessed insured patients opting out of necessary operations due to financial constraints.

The study revealed that nearly half of those concerned about costs and over half of those worried about missed work ended up not proceeding with the planned operation. In contrast, those concerned about pain related to the surgery did not differ in their likelihood of undergoing the procedure.

The study’s lead author, Dr. Jeffrey Kullgren, emphasized the need for further research to understand the complex factors that influence an individual’s decision to undergo surgery. The study surveyed 2,110 adults aged 50 to 80 and identified elective surgeries such as joint replacements, cataract surgery, hernia repairs, gallbladder removal, and hysterectomies, as well as cosmetic procedures, as being subjects of concern.

The concerns about COVID-19 infection can be seen in the context of the survey, which was conducted in 2021 when the impacts of the pandemic were significant. Dr. Berlin also highlighted the potential influence of ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks on surgical decision-making.

The study underscores the need for a comprehensive understanding of the decision-making process for surgical procedures. Policymakers have attempted to address these issues by promoting price transparency and reducing surprise bills for out-of-network services. However, the study implies that these initiatives may not fully account for issues related to employment and insurance. Berlin emphasized the increasing numbers of older workers, the growing presence of limited network plans, and high-deductible insurance plans, as factors that need to be taken into consideration when addressing these concerns.

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