Background: Access to healthcare and service utilization are both considered essential factors for improving the general health and wellbeing of older people, especially at the time of COVID-19 pandemic. The aim of the study is to explore factors affecting healthcare access and health service utilization for older people during the pandemic. Methods: PubMed, Web of Science, Scopus and Embase were systematically searched for relevant articles. Access, utilization, health, elderly and COVID-19 were used as keywords in the search strategy. A total of 4308 articles were identified through the initial database search; 50 articles were included in the review as passing the eligibility criteria. The searches were conducted up to August 2021. Data extraction was performed, and evidence was descriptively illustrated. Thematic analysis was used to explore factors influencing the elderly’s access and utilization of healthcare services, using Max QDA10, a qualitative analysis software. Results: Among articles included in the review (n = 50), a majority of the studies were from the United States (36%), followed by India (8%). According to the main healthcare services, a large number of articles (18%) were related to mental health services, followed by digital health services (16%). Factors were identified at an individual, provider and systems level. Seven main themes emerged from the thematic analysis, as determinants of elderly’s access and utilization of healthcare services during COVID-19 pandemic. These included: access to non-COVID related services, access to COVID-related services, literacy and education, accommodation challenges, perceived attitudes of aging, and policies and structures, and social determinants. Conclusion: Mental health and digital health services were identified as major issues influencing or contributing to or influencing older people’s health during the COVID-19 pandemic. We also argue on the importance of a rounded view, as attention to a range of factors is vital for policy decisions towards sustainable care and equitable interventions for improving the health of older people.
- Healthcare services