The interRAI COVID-19 vulnerability screener: Results of a health surveillance initiative for vulnerable adults in the community during the COVID-19 pandemic
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During the pandemic, the interRAI COVID-19 Vulnerability Screener (CVS) was used to identify community-dwelling older adults or adults with disabilities at risk of negative outcomes and facilitate triage for follow-up with health/social services. The interRAI CVS, a standardized self-report instrument administered virtually by a lay-person, includes COVID-19-related items and psychosocial and physical vulnerability. Our objective was to describe those assessed and identify sub-groups at highest risk of adverse outcomes. Seven community-based organizations in Ontario, Canada, implemented the interRAI CVS. We used descriptive statistics to report results and created a priority indicator for monitoring and/or intervention based on possible COVID-19 symptoms and psychosocial/physical vulnerabilities. We used logistic regression to examine the association between priority level and risk of poor outcomes using fair/poor self-rated health as a proxy measure. The sample included 942 adults assessed (April-November 2020; mean age=79). About 10% of individuals reported potential COVID-19 symptoms and <1% had a positive COVID-19 test/diagnosis. Of those with psychosocial/physical vulnerabilities (73.1%), most common were depressed mood (20.9%), loneliness (21.6%), and limited access to food/medications (7.5%). Overall, 45.7% had a recent doctor or nurse practitioner visit. Odds of fair/poor self-reported health were highest among those who reported both possible symptoms of COVID-19 and psychosocial/physical vulnerabilities (OR 10.9, 95% CI 5.96-20.12) compared to those with neither symptoms nor psychosocial/physical vulnerabilities. The sample represents a population largely unaffected by COVID-19 itself but with identified vulnerabilities. The interRAI CVS allows community providers to stay connected and obtain a better understanding of vulnerable individuals' needs during the pandemic.
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