Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on neuromuscular rehabilitation setting. Part 2: patients and families’ views on the received health care during the pandemic

Lorenza Magliano 1, Giulia Citarelli 2, Maria Grazia Esposito 2, Vito Torre 2, Luisa Politano 2

1 Department of Psychology, University of Campania “Luigi Vanvitelli”, Caserta, Italy; 2 Associazione Centro “Gaetano Torre” per Le Malattie Muscolari, Unità di Ricerca, Naples, Italy

DOI 10.36185/2532-1900-075

This study explored views of users with muscular dystrophies and their caregivers on staff-user relationships and the treatments provided by a Rehabilitation Centre during the pandemic. Patients and relatives were asked to anonymously complete an open-ended questionnaire exploring their views on these aspects. Fifty-four patients and 40 caregivers gave their informed consent and participated in the survey. Fifty-three patients were adults, 28% suffering from Duchenne/Becker muscular dystrophy.
Patients reported 269 comments on health care services provided during the pandemic, 132 (49%) concerning positive aspects and 137 (51%) negative aspects. The prompt restart of the rehabilitation therapies and the staff closeness over the pandemic were the practical aspects most frequently appreciated (46.9%), while closer family contacts and the perception of being able to rely on the Centre’s constant support were the most cited psychological aspects (53.1%). Architectural barriers, difficulties in accessing public health services, economic difficulties, and lack of support from welfare and other agencies were the practical critical points most frequently reported (89%). In addition, social isolation, and loneliness due to fear of contagion were the most negative psychological aspects (10.1%).
As regard the caregivers’ views, participants reported 151 comments. Of these, 86 (56.9%) were positive and 65 (43.1%) were negative. Among the positive aspects, the psychological ones – such as closer family contacts, not feeling abandoned and counting on the constant Centre’s professional support prevailed (53.5%). As for the negative aspects, most caregivers (92.6%) believe that the pandemic exacerbated their financial and bureaucratic difficulties, particularly in poorer families

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