In an effort to help fertility clinics understand the points of additional stress added to patients during the COVID-19 clinic closure, RESOLVE conducted a patient survey from April 21-May 13, 2020. RESOLVE sent the COVID-19 and Infertility Patient Experience Survey link to its email database, through RESOLVE social media channels, posted it on Inspire.com, and sent it to two active non-RESOLVE Facebook groups of patients whose treatment had been cancelled or postponed.
576 people completed the survey.
Key demographic data:
- AGE: 35% are between 30-33 years old; 30% are between 34-37 years old
- GENDER: 99% Female
- MARITAL STATUS: 97% married or partnered
- STATES REPRESENTED: Patients from 33 different states responded to the survey. CA, IL, NY, MA, TX were the states with the most responses
KEY SURVEY RESULTS:
- 81% Agreed or Strongly Agreed that the clinic closure was stressful on them.
- 79% Agreed or Strongly Agreed that the clinic closure will have a negative impact on them, with slightly more than half (52%) expressing concern that treatment delay will diminish their chance of having a baby.
- Of those that had been in touch with their clinic, 80% said their Nurse was their main source of contact.
- Less than half of patients Agreed or Strongly Agreed that their clinic provided individual outreach to them. (43%)
- When asked if their healthcare team had provided them with mental health resources, only 24% Agreed or Strongly Agreed, while 58% Disagreed or Strongly Disagreed.
- When asked if their healthcare team had provided them with ways to stay healthy during the clinic closure, 53% Disagreed or Strongly Disagreed.
Regarding how they felt, Respondents said:
- Sad: 68% said they felt “Sad” Frequently or All the Time
- Discouraged: 67% said they felt “Discouraged” Frequently or All the Time
- Worried: 65% said they felt “Worried” Frequently or All the Time
- Nervous: 56% said they felt “Nervous” Frequently or All the Time
In terms of resources to help them, social media was the top resource with 71% connecting on social media, followed by peer support from others going through this (57%).
59% have insurance for all or part of their medical treatment
57% understood why their clinic was closed and agreed with the decision.
52% said the main reason given to them by their clinic for their clinic closing was ASRM’s Recommendations, followed by state or local government orders at 28%; similarly, they were told by their clinic that the re-opening decisions would be made based on ASRM Recommendations more than by government orders.
Considerations based on input from RESOLVE’s COVID-19 Patient Survey data:
RESOLVE’s COVID-19 Patient Survey showed us that more than half of the patients who responded desired additional support resources beyond what they reported their clinics offered during a crisis like COVID-19 and during uncertain or extra stressful times while undergoing medical treatment. RESOLVE continues to support mental health and peer support as part of the ongoing treatment plan for all patients.
Here are some resources:
- RESOLVE’s free peer-led support group program is nationwide and online. If there’s not a support group in your area, RESOLVE will work with you to find a volunteer to start a new group.
- Consider working with local mental health professionals to provide mental health telehealth appointments during uncertain or stressful times of treatment. Mental health professional directory can be found on Resolve.org and the MHPG directory of ASRM.
- Share RESOLVE’s social media channels as a resource to connect your patients to the broader patient community.
- Link to recommendations and webinars for patients to stay healthy during the crisis and be prepared to get those recommendations quickly into the hands of their patients during a crisis.
If you’re with a US fertility clinic and would like to learn how to provide support resources for your patients, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and a member of our team will be in touch.