Providing community services for persons with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic: A scoping review

Health Soc Care Community. 2022 Nov;30(6):e3746-e3760. doi: 10.1111/hsc.14050. Epub 2022 Sep 28.


Community organisations and municipalities support people with disabilities by providing resources and services that are essential for their engagement in the community. Their services were particularly impacted by restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The aim of the study is to identify scientific literature that examines how community organisations and municipalities adapted services and resources provided to people with disabilities as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. A scoping review was conducted by searching the databases Medline, Embase, CINAHL, PsycINFO and Web of Science Core Collection in January 2021. Fifteen studies were included from the initial search strategy of 7651 individual studies. Most of the studies were quantitative studies (73.3%; n = 11) and aimed at describing the adaptations put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic (66.7%; n = 10). Most services and resources involved some form of preventive healthcare (66.7%; n = 10). The adaptation of modalities for delivering resources and services varied widely across organisations (e.g. online or a combination of online and in-person) but mostly led to an improvement of the studied outcome (e.g. social skills, quality of life). Barriers (e.g. need for a reliable internet connection, lack of technology literacy from the member) and facilitators (e.g. flexibility and planning from the organisations) for these adaptations have been identified, but there is little information surrounding their cost. The results highlight that the delivery of online services has increased since the inception of the COVID-19 pandemic with valuable outcomes. However, further research is needed to better identify the barriers, facilitators and outcomes of remote services to better face future large-scale disasters like the COVID-19 pandemic and to better support individuals who cannot reach in-person services.

Keywords: COVID-19; ageing; community; disability; loss of autonomy; organisation; services.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19* / epidemiology
  • Disabled Persons*
  • Humans
  • Pandemics
  • Quality of Life
  • Social Welfare

Grant support