In a recent survey, Canadians were asked about the management of their health before and during the COVID-19 pandemic, including their self-care activities and viewpoints.
Self-care is the ability of individuals, families, and communities to promote health, prevent disease, maintain health, and cope with illness and disability with or without the support of a healthcare provider. Approximately half of survey respondents have missed an in-person appointment with a doctor due to the COVID-19 pandemic response measures. Of those, more than 2/3 practiced a range of self-care activities-- 12% of respondents took care of the problem themselves, another 53% used virtual care services, and 7% sought a pharmacist's advice.
Further, more than half of those who managed their health conditions themselves during the pandemic were satisfied with the results, and more than half of those who used virtual care would do so again even after the pandemic is over. As a result, more than 50% of Canadians are now more interested in finding ways to practice self-care at home.
The survey conducted by Redfern Research and commissioned by Consumer Health Products Canada in May 2020, asked more than 2000 Canadians about how they were getting informed and treating their health since COVID-19 measures began across Canada in mid-March.
This research found that 96% of respondents find life different since mid-March. These differences include both positive and negative lifestyle impacts. Following public health advice, 90% of Canadians now wash their hands more. At the same time, while spending more time at home, 34% of Canadians say that their mental health is worse than before the pandemic began, 37% have been exercising less, 34% are eating more, and, of those who smoke or drink alcohol, more than 25% said they were doing so more since COVID-19 measures began.
Additionally, Canadians are seeking more information about their health, with approximately 40% saying they have looked for more information on how to protect themselves from COVID-19 as well as treat common ailments they experienced since the pandemic response began. The main sources of that information included TV or radio news, provincial governments, family members, the federal government, and friends, with around 1 in 4 Canadians seeking information from health professionals, and 12% using Telehealth or other call-in services.
Finally, on government information about the pandemic, an average of more than 90% of respondents find information from all levels of government – federal, provincial, and municipal - on the outbreak useful. At the same time, 64% say that, in general, information about COVID-19 has been inconsistent or confusing.
On the survey, Karen Proud, President of CHP Canada, notes: "Supporting Canadians in their efforts to care for themselves and their loved ones at home has never been more important."
Overall, the COVID-19 pandemic increased the interest of Canadians in their health and motivated them to practice a range of self-care activities, including virtual care and consultation with pharmacists, to replace in-person visits to the doctor and treat health issues. The pandemic has reinforced the importance of responding to the needs of Canadians caring for themselves and those they love.
— Consumer Health Products Canada/CHP Canada