Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on rehabilitation setting. Part 1: professionals’ views on the changes in routine care provided by a rehabilitation centre for patients with muscle diseases

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

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

DOI 10.36185/2532-1900-054

The outbreak of COVID-19 has forced the health care system to undergo profound rearrangements in services and facilities, especially during the periods of lockdown. In this context, inpatient and outpatient services had to rethink and reorganize their activities to meet the needs of severely disabled patients, as those affected by Muscular Dystrophies (MDs).

We present the preliminary results of a survey aiming to explore the staff views on the changes in the care provided by the Gaetano Torre Rehabilitation Centre, and, the impact of these changes on professionals, patients and their families.

The survey was carried out using an open-ended questionnaire including six-items, on the practical and psychological aspects emerged during the pandemic in relation to the healthcare services provided by the Centre and to the patients/caregivers conditions. The participants, most of them physiotherapists, highlighted 169 aspects emerging in the pandemic, 48.5% referring to the resources used to cope with critical issues and 51.5% concerning the difficulties encountered. Emotional aspects prevailed on practical aspects both in resources (52.4 vs 47.6%) and in difficulties (57.5 vs 42.5%) categories. In particular, with regard to patients’ resources, psychological benefits, despite the burden, were greater than practical ones (87 vs 13%), in the form of improved intra-family relationships, feeling more cared for, and satisfaction for the received care. As for the patients’ relatives, the staff indicated more resources than difficulties (72.8 vs 17.2%). Among the former, 75% concerned the emotional sphere, such as the perception of having a point of reference even in such a difficult time.

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