Title : Pandemics interlaced The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the psychological and social wellbeing of sober living home residents
The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the provision of healthcare in a number of different areas: surgical care, nursing care, palliative and hospice care. Patients put off seeking dental care, eye care, and had extensive delays in basic preventive care. One area not well studied has been the impact of COVID-19 on persons in Substance Use Disorder (SUD) recovery needing long-term residential care in sober living environments. We initiated this study to assess how the COVID-19 pandemic progression impacted the psychological and social wellbeing of sober living home residents and to identify significant predictors of relapse risk. We surveyed 106 individuals in sober living residencies to assess how the pandemic impacted social connectivity, utilization of social support services, and relapse predictors at three different time points throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. We found that the pandemic led to significant declines in social interconnectedness and utilization of social support services, leading to increases in thoughts of relapse. Additionally, we interviewed individual residents of sober living residences who provided valuable information that supported the decline in social connectivity and the increase in relapse risk throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Given the documented increased rates of overdose deaths during the pandemic, treating patients in recovery will require the development of novel and non-traditional methods of providing social support and interventions to increase social connectivity.