2023 Major Report
COVID-19 and its impact on health care use: Findings from the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health
This report compares women’s use of health services during the first two years of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic with that of previous years to assess the impact of the pandemic. We also consider the differential impact of the pandemic on health service use for women in different subpopulations, with particular focus on women’s health status (presence of chronic condition/s), area of residence, financial status, and domestic violence history. Furthermore, data from the ALSWH COVID-19 mini-surveys deployed in 2020 have been analysed to examine health service use at the onset of the pandemic, including analysis of qualitative data to give voice to the lived experience of women during this period.
This report focuses on women in three different age groups and life stages:
- women in their late 20s who are entering their peak reproductive years (1989-95 cohort),
- women in their mid 40s who have established their families and careers (1973-78 cohort), and
- women in their early 70s who are increasingly facing health challenges (1946-51 cohort).
The findings aim to highlight the impact on women’s health service use of both the COVID-19 pandemic and of the strategies that were implemented to prevent the spread of disease. Findings may also help inform government responses to future pandemics to minimise disruptions to women’s access to health services.
COVID-19 and its impact on health care use: Findings from the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health. Mishra G, Dobson A, Tooth L, Chan H-W, Forder P, Townsend N, Egan N, Cavenagh D, Hockey R, Barnes I, Byrnes E & Loxton D. Report prepared for the Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care, May 2023.