“I Was Scared I Might Die Alone”: A Qualitative Study on the Physiological and Psychological Experience of COVID-19 Survivors and the Quality of Care Received at Health Facilities

Document Type : Original Article


1 Faculty of Clinical Sciences, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria

2 Slum and Rural Health Initiative Research Academy, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria

3 College of Medicine and Health Science, Abraminch University, Abraminch, Ethiopia

4 Department of Public Health, School of Public Health, Southern Medical University, Guangzhou, China



Introduction: Although several coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19) studies have focused on the biomedical and epidemiological manifestations of the COVID-19 virus, there is a dearth of studies that have reported the experiences of COVID-19 survivors. This study investigated the physiological and psychological experiences of COVID-19 survivors and the quality of care that they received during their recovery processes.
Methods: A phenomenological approach and a purposive sampling technique were employed to select eligible participants whose reported interviews/videos were published on reputable online media channels. The selection processes involved three researchers who had independently searched and assessed the interviews and their sources; for veracity, availability of vital information to meet the study objectives, and to ensure it followed the inclusion criteria. Video interviews were transcribed and data were analyzed using thematic analysis.
Results: Thirty-nine participants (COVID-19 survivors) within the age range of 20-95 from over 15 countries and 5 continents were included in this study. Clinical symptoms commonly reported included feeling feverish, severe, persistent and dry cough, difficulty in breathing, cold, body pains, and aches. Many participants had negative mental health experiences such as being scared, anxious, guilty feelings, and worrying about their recovery. Few participants had positive mental health experiences such as the feeling of encouragement from family and trusted friends. Many participants were satisfied with the quality of care at health centers, though some experienced early difficulty in getting tested.
Conclusion: There are psychological impacts associated with the SARS-CoV-2 infection. Psychological interventions should be included in the management of COVID-19 patients and survivors.