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Our Poll Finds COVID-19 Concerns Among Those Considering Elective Surgery

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Nearly half of adults ages 50 to 80 who've considered getting elective surgery say they’re worried about exposure to COVID-19 during their procedure, according to the findings of a new AARP-sponsored poll.

The National Poll on Healthy Aging — conducted by the University of Michigan’s Institute for Healthcare Policy and supported by AARP — found that most older adults considering elective surgery worried about pain or discomfort (64 percent) and difficulties with recovery (57 percent). The next most common responses were exposure to COVID-19, out-of-pocket costs and taking time off from work (all 46 percent).

“Many adults in the U.S. have postponed their medical care and procedures throughout the pandemic, including elective surgeries,” Indira Venkat, vice president of consumer insights at AARP, said in a statement. “It’s important to keep in touch with your health care providers to maintain good health and wellbeing, especially for older adults who are more likely to have chronic health conditions.”

A separate Stanford Medicine study found that nonurgent surgery rates plummeted in the first months of the pandemic, as patients canceled procedures and hospitals filled beds with COVID-19 patients. But those rates have largely returned to pre-pandemic levels. Two-thirds of older adults who’ve had elective surgery in recent years say they’re very satisfied with the results, the poll found.

Read more about the poll’s findings.

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