Mental health impacts of hospitalization for COVID-19 among Latinx patients in eastern Massachusetts

Type: Poster Presentation
Date: November 2022


Sofia A. Ladner, Ceylon Auguste-Nelson, Carolyn F. Fisher, Raquel Sofia Sandoval, Katherine G. McDaniel, Neha Sandeep, Yamini Saravanan. “Mental health impacts of hospitalization for COVID-19 among Latinx patients in eastern Massachusetts” Presented at the 2022 APHA Annual Meeting and Expo (poster). Presented at the 2022 Cambridge Health Alliance academic poster session (poster). Boston, MA.


Spanish-speaking patients with a COVID-19 diagnosis were three times more likely to be hospitalized following a respiratory clinic visit than the general population according to an analysis of medical record data at a safety-net health system in eastern Massachusetts in the early months of the pandemic. This disparity is alarming because there are suggestions in the literature that hospitalization itself, not merely experiencing sudden illness, can lead to meaningful mental health impacts. In order to further understand the factors underlying the disparity, we recruited patients from the original medical record data analysis and conducted a series of qualitative phone interviews with thirteen participants who contracted the COVID-19 virus and were hospitalized with severe disease during the first nine months of the pandemic. Participants self-identified as Hispanic/Latino/a/x and/or their primary language was Spanish. More than half of the patients we interviewed described experiencing severe mental health struggles following hospitalization. In addition, they described themselves and their families making decisions around their care based on the assumption that hospitalization – rather than home-based family care – would lead to mental health struggles. To improve the COVID-19 outcomes of Hispanic/Latino/a/x populations,our findings suggest the importance of identifying home-based means of support for people through their recovery from COVID-19, particularly methods of supporting those who may be suffering from trauma reactions or other mental health struggles following a hospitalization.

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