The Impact of COVID-19 on Healthcare Services

A topical collection in Healthcare (ISSN 2227-9032). This collection belongs to the section "Coronaviruses (CoV) and COVID-19 Pandemic".

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Editors


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Guest Editor
1. Department of Medicine and Ageing Sciences, "G. d'Annunzio" University of Chieti-Pescara, 66100 Chieti, Italy
2. Unit of Hygiene, Epidemiology and Public Health, ASL Pescara, 65100 Pescara, Italy
Interests: epidemiology; public health; non-communicable diseases; health services research; outcomes research; vaccines
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Unit of Epidemiology and Public Health, Department of Medicine and Science of Ageing, University of G. d'Annunzio of Chieti-Pescara, 66100 Chieti, Italy
Interests: epidemiology; public health; health services research; preventive medicine; vaccine
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Medicine and Ageing Sciences, School of Hygiene and Preventive Medicine, “G. d’Annunzio” University of Chieti-Pescara, 66100 Chieti, Italy
Interests: epidemiology; public health; non-communicable diseases; health services research; occupational medicine
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Topical Collection Information

Dear Colleagues,

COVID-19 pandemic heavly impacted health services across all countries: the increase in morbidity and mortality due to Sars-Cov-2 infection caused an important consumption in hospital resourches. This situation in paraller influenced healthcare services, in particular about hospital admissions and visits unrelated to COVID-19 itself. There is emerging evidence from many countries that there are variations in healthcare utilization patterns due to COVID-19. In particular, ambulatory services switched to tele-medicine and several elective admissions were postponed. Given that COVID-19 is a fluctuating circumstance, many elective procedures have continued to be delayed as COVID-19 cases increase and virtual care remains a large component for many outpatient practices. Despite the reduction in outpatient service and elective surgeries, patients would presumably still require inpatient management for their acute and chronic medical conditions requiring admission through the emergency department, and the impact of the emergency measures on overall hospital use is uncertain. Because of that, an increase in emergency department acces for ambulatory care sensitive condition would be expected. This Special Issue aims to summarize the latest research that analyzed the impact of COVID19 on health services. In particular, papers that examine trends in hospital admissions during the pandemic, the impact of COVID19 on chronic conditions and ambulatory care sensitive conditions, and the effect of preventive strategies to improve hospital care in patients with and without COVID-19. Papers which examine the epidemiology of COVID-19 hospitalization, primary care, out-hospital management of the disease, the impact of COVID-19 on other diseases, and the economic burden of COVID-19 will also be considered.

Dr. Giuseppe Di Martino
Prof. Dr. Tommaso Staniscia
Dr. Fabrizio Cedrone

Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • COVID19
  • Hospitalization
  • Healthcare
  • hospital care
  • hospital management
  • healthcare services
  • quality
  • sustainability
  • patient safety
  • pandemic response
  • public health
  • health systems

Published Papers (59 papers)

2024

Jump to: 2023, 2022, 2021

12 pages, 693 KiB  
Article
Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Utilization of Healthcare Services and Spending Patterns in Dubai, United Arab Emirates: A Cross-Sectional Study
by Meenu Mahak Soni, Heba Mohammed Mamdouh and Eldaw Abdalla Suliman
Healthcare 2024, 12(4), 473; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare12040473 - 14 Feb 2024
Viewed by 870
Abstract
Background: The COVID-19 pandemic affected the utilization of healthcare services in many parts of the world. The response to the healthcare burden imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic was associated with ensuring the provision of optimum healthcare services. This study aimed to estimate the [...] Read more.
Background: The COVID-19 pandemic affected the utilization of healthcare services in many parts of the world. The response to the healthcare burden imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic was associated with ensuring the provision of optimum healthcare services. This study aimed to estimate the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on health services utilization and spending patterns in Dubai, the UAE. Methods: This cross-sectional study used secondary data on healthcare utilization and spending to compare between 2019 and 2020. The data was extracted from the health insurance claims on the eClaimLink platform. Descriptive and inferential statistics were used to calculate the percent change of service utilization and spending and percentages of total claims by each encounter type across major diagnostic categories (MDCs). Results: In 2020, there was an overall reduction in outpatient visits and inpatient admissions of 27% and 21%, respectively, compared to 2019. Outpatient visits and prescriptions decreased across all the MDCs except mental and behavioral disorders, which showed an increase of 8% in outpatient visits and 29% in prescriptions. The admissions to the healthcare facilities were also reduced significantly across various MDCs, ranging from 10% to 44%. Similarly, a downward trend was seen in diagnostics for different MDCs. An increase in expenditure on diagnostics and drugs for neoplasm was reported, despite a corresponding decrease in outpatient and inpatient admissions for the same. Conclusion: A significant decrease in overall healthcare utilization and corresponding healthcare spending, resulting from a decline in outpatient and inpatient volume in healthcare facilities at all the levels (hospitals, clinics, speciality centres), was reported during the pandemic. The impact of the pandemic on mental health was reported by this study, as it showed an upward trend in utilization and spending. For the neoplasms, although the utilization declined, the expenditure on diagnostics and drugs during each encounter increased significantly. Full article
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13 pages, 255 KiB  
Article
Healthcare Social Workers’ Scope of Practice during COVID-19
by Tiffany Washington and Terri D. Lewinson
Healthcare 2024, 12(2), 174; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare12020174 - 11 Jan 2024
Viewed by 841
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic pushed the U.S. healthcare system to its limits, resulting in the need for flexibility in care delivery. This study aimed to describe healthcare social workers’ scope of practice since the start of the pandemic. Semi-structured interviews for this qualitative study [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic pushed the U.S. healthcare system to its limits, resulting in the need for flexibility in care delivery. This study aimed to describe healthcare social workers’ scope of practice since the start of the pandemic. Semi-structured interviews for this qualitative study were conducted using the Zoom platform between July and August 2020. This study used a basic qualitative content analysis with integrated deductive and inductive coding to explore participant perspectives. Their scope was assessed based on healthcare social work practice standards. Four practice standards and eight themes that emerged from the data were knowledge and skills (care planning and intervention and social worker–patient relationship), workload sustainability (workload expansion and workload facilitators), interdisciplinary collaboration (collaborating beyond the scope of responsibilities and collaboration challenges), and cultural competency (institutional and societal). The findings add a deeper understanding of the roles social workers perform, how they think about these roles, how they want to be understood, and how they are best utilized in ways consistent with their training and expertise. Moving forward, healthcare systems may consider well-delineated roles and responsibilities for everyday practice and during pandemics. Full article

2023

Jump to: 2024, 2022, 2021

12 pages, 646 KiB  
Article
The Inflow, Throughput and Outflow of COVID-19 Patients in Dutch Hospitals: Experiences from Experts and Middle Managers
by Lidy Okkerman, Dennis Moeke, Stan Janssen and Jeroen van Andel
Healthcare 2024, 12(1), 18; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare12010018 (registering DOI) - 21 Dec 2023
Viewed by 606
Abstract
At the beginning of 2020, the large and unforeseen inflow of COVID-19 patients had a deep impact on the healthcare operations of Dutch hospitals. From a patient flow logistics perspective, each hospital handled the situation largely in its own particular and improvised way. [...] Read more.
At the beginning of 2020, the large and unforeseen inflow of COVID-19 patients had a deep impact on the healthcare operations of Dutch hospitals. From a patient flow logistics perspective, each hospital handled the situation largely in its own particular and improvised way. Nevertheless, some hospitals appeared to be more effective in their dealing with this sudden demand for extra care than others. This prompted a study into the factors which hindered and facilitated effective operations during this period. We provide an overview of actions and measures for organizing and managing the inflow, throughput and outflow of COVID-19 patients within Dutch hospitals from various types of departments in a large number of hospitals in The Netherlands, based on interviews with nine experts and twelve hospital managers. Ten actions or measures have been identified, which have been divided into the following three dimensions: Streamlining of the underlying in- and external processes, reducing unnecessary or undesirable inflow of patients and increasing or making more adequate use of the available (human) capacity. The main lessons learned are the importance of integral tuning in the care process, giving up habits and self-interest, good information provision and the middle manager as a linking pin. Full article
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23 pages, 1140 KiB  
Article
Hidden and Understaffed: Exploring Canadian Medical Laboratory Technologists’ Pandemic Stressors and Lessons Learned
by Patricia Nicole Dignos, Ayesha Khan, Michael Gardiner-Davis, Andrew Papadopoulos, Behdin Nowrouzi-Kia, Myuri Sivanthan and Basem Gohar
Healthcare 2023, 11(20), 2736; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare11202736 - 14 Oct 2023
Viewed by 2500
Abstract
(1) Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the critical role of medical laboratory technologists (MLTs) in the healthcare system. Little is known about the challenges MLTs faced in keeping up with the unprecedented demands posed by the pandemic, which contributed to the notable [...] Read more.
(1) Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the critical role of medical laboratory technologists (MLTs) in the healthcare system. Little is known about the challenges MLTs faced in keeping up with the unprecedented demands posed by the pandemic, which contributed to the notable staff shortage in the profession. This study aims to identify and understand the stressors of MLTs in Canada and the lessons learned through their lived experiences during the pandemic. (2) Methods: In this descriptive qualitative study, we conducted five semi-structured focus groups with MLTs working during the pandemic. The focus group sessions were audio-recorded and then transcribed verbatim. Thematic analysis was used to inductively code data and identify themes. (3) Results: A total of 27 MLTs across Canada participated in the study. Findings highlighted four key themes: (i) unexpected challenges navigating through the uncertainties of an ever-evolving pandemic; (ii) implications of staff shortage for the well-being of MLTs and quality of patient care; (iii) revealing the realities of the hidden, yet indispensable role of MLTs in predominantly non-patient-facing roles; and (iv) leveraging insights from the COVID-19 pandemic to enhance healthcare practices and preparedness. (4) Conclusion: The study provides in-depth insight into the experiences of MLTs across Canada during the pandemic. Based on our findings, we provide recommendations to enhance the sustainability of the laboratory workforce and ensure preparedness and resiliency among MLTs for future public health emergencies, as well as considerations as to combating the critical staff shortage. Full article
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14 pages, 1012 KiB  
Article
Migrants and Healthcare during COVID-19, the Case of Kanchanaburi Province in Thailand
by Uma Langkulsen, Portia Mareke and Augustine Lambonmung
Healthcare 2023, 11(20), 2724; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare11202724 - 13 Oct 2023
Viewed by 918
Abstract
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, as reported by the WHO in December 2019 and subsequently declared a public health emergency of international concern, a distinct set of risk factors and vulnerabilities faced by migrants are affecting their exposure to the pandemic and its [...] Read more.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, as reported by the WHO in December 2019 and subsequently declared a public health emergency of international concern, a distinct set of risk factors and vulnerabilities faced by migrants are affecting their exposure to the pandemic and its associated outcomes. This study aims to analyze the social determinants of health among migrants and their associated factors and compare the socio-demographic characteristics, patterns of COVID-19, and healthcare attendance and utilization among migrant workers and non-migrants. A descriptive study design was used to analyze COVID-19 morbidity among migrant workers. There were a total of 73,762 migrants living in the province by December 2021, with varied statuses and nationalities. Most of the migrants were from Myanmar, constituting about 80.1%. A total of 24,837 COVID-19 cases in Kanchanaburi province were recorded in 2020–2021. COVID-19 cases among migrant workers accounted for 22.3% during the period under review. Half, 2914 (52.7%) of the migrant female workers were victims of COVID-19 infections. Persons under the age of 18 accounted for about one-fifth of all the COVID-19 cases. Older, over 60 years old, Thais had about twice (10.1%) the COVID-19 cases compared with the older migrants (5.5%). There was a significant increase in healthcare attendance and utilization by non-migrants and migrants during the year under review. Migrants are at high risk of COVID-19 infection. Therefore, public health guidance for the prevention of COVID-19 should prioritize safeguarding the health of migrants by considering their individual characteristics and actions. Enhancing health insurance schemes for migrants, particularly vulnerable migrant groups, is critical for inclusive and expanded healthcare access. Physical, social, and economic environments that impact the health and well-being of migrants should be integral to pandemic prevention, preparedness, response, and recovery. Full article
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13 pages, 1285 KiB  
Article
Assessing Mental Health Outcomes in Quarantine Centres: A Cross-Sectional Study during COVID-19 in Malaysia
by Nadia Mohamad, Rohaida Ismail, Mohd Faiz Ibrahim, Imanul Hassan Abdul Shukor, Mohd Zulfinainie Mohamad, Muhammad Farhan Mahmud and Siti Sara Yaacob
Healthcare 2023, 11(16), 2339; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare11162339 - 18 Aug 2023
Viewed by 866
Abstract
During the COVID-19 pandemic, persons under surveillance (PUS) were isolated in quarantine centres instead of at home. However, there is limited knowledge regarding the mental health issues experienced by these persons. This study aimed to assess mental health outcomes and associated factors among PUS and [...] Read more.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, persons under surveillance (PUS) were isolated in quarantine centres instead of at home. However, there is limited knowledge regarding the mental health issues experienced by these persons. This study aimed to assess mental health outcomes and associated factors among PUS and frontline workers at quarantine centres. This study conducted an analysis of secondary data from a cross-sectional survey carried out by the Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Services (MHPSS). The MHPSS employed the Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scale (DASS-21) to evaluate mental health outcomes across 49 quarantine centres in Malaysia. The study included a total of 4577 respondents. The prevalence of stress, anxiety, and depression was found to be 0.9%, 11.4%, and 10.2%, respectively. Frontline workers and being part of the younger age group were found to be associated with depression, anxiety, and stress. Other factors associated with mental health issues were being female, staying at an institution-type centre, and a longer duration of the stay or work at the centre. In conclusion, assessing the mental health status and its associated factors among quarantine centre occupants is crucial for developing future strategies to safeguard their mental well-being. Full article
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11 pages, 1077 KiB  
Article
Impact of COVID-19 on Fracture Incidence in Germany: A Comparative Age and Gender Analysis of Pre- and Post-Outbreak Periods
by Tizian Heinz, Moritz Wild, Annette Eidmann, Manuel Weißenberger, Dominik Rak, Alexander Johannes Nedopil, Maximilian Rudert and Ioannis Stratos
Healthcare 2023, 11(15), 2139; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare11152139 - 26 Jul 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 841
Abstract
In March 2020, Germany imposed a nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19, prompting questions about the impact on the incidence of common fractures. This study examined 15 fracture types in pre-outbreak (2010–2019) and post-outbreak (2020–2021) periods, using data categorized by age [...] Read more.
In March 2020, Germany imposed a nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19, prompting questions about the impact on the incidence of common fractures. This study examined 15 fracture types in pre-outbreak (2010–2019) and post-outbreak (2020–2021) periods, using data categorized by age (18–64 years, >65 years) and sex (male, female). Linear regression assessed annual growth rates, and mean fracture numbers were compared across periods for significant differences. Results indicated a positive correlation between fracture incidence rates and time for various types, such as cervical, thoracic, lumbar, and pelvic spine fractures, rib fractures, femoral neck, pertrochanteric femur, femoral shaft, and ankle fractures. Frequencies of proximal humerus, distal radius, femoral neck, pertrochanteric femur, femoral shaft, and ankle fractures in 2020 and 2021 were within predicted ranges from previous years. However, rib fractures and spinal fractures (cervical, thoracic, lumbar, and pelvic spine) occurred less frequently during this time. Notably, this study found a consistent decline in most fracture types for individuals aged 18–64 after the pandemic’s onset, while the fracture incidence of hip fractures, often referred to as fragility fractures, for those over 65 remained unchanged. Fibula fractures showed the most considerable decrease in both age groups. In conclusion, the COVID-19 pandemic substantially impacted fracture incidence, with lower rates among individuals under 65 and unchanged fragility fractures in the elderly population. Full article
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11 pages, 481 KiB  
Article
COVID-19 and Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma—Impact of the Pandemic on Unequal Access to Healthcare
by Marko Jović, Milana Marinković, Branko Suđecki, Milana Jurišić, Zoran Bukumirić, Milan Jovanović, Milan Stojičić and Jelena Jeremić
Healthcare 2023, 11(14), 1994; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare11141994 - 10 Jul 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 772
Abstract
Most skin tumors are not fatal, but if not treated in a timely manner, they can lead to significant morbidity. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and in order to create more capacities for the treatment of COVID-19-positive patients as well as to contain [...] Read more.
Most skin tumors are not fatal, but if not treated in a timely manner, they can lead to significant morbidity. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and in order to create more capacities for the treatment of COVID-19-positive patients as well as to contain the spread of the virus, the healthcare system was reorganized worldwide, leading to decreased access to preventive screening programs. The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of the pandemic on healthcare accessibility to cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma patients in Serbia. This retrospective study was conducted at the Clinic for Burns, Plastic, and Reconstructive Surgery, University Clinical Center of Serbia in Belgrade. Patient demographics and pathohistological findings of tumors of patients living in and outside the capital in the period before, during, and after the pandemic were compared. The two groups did not show any differences regarding the largest tumor diameter prior and during the pandemic; however, this difference became extremely noticeable after the pandemic (15 mm vs. 27 mm; p < 0.001). While cSCCs are commonly slow-growing tumors, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is not negligible. This study found a population at a significant risk of cSCC metastasis, with additional evidence likely to emerge in the upcoming years. Full article
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14 pages, 773 KiB  
Article
Pre-Hospital Emergency Medical Services Utilization Amid COVID-19 in 2020: Descriptive Study Based on Routinely Collected Dispatch Data in Bavaria, Germany
by Kathrin Hegenberg, Alexander Althammer, Christian Gehring, Stephan Prueckner and Heiko Trentzsch
Healthcare 2023, 11(14), 1983; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare11141983 - 08 Jul 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 923
Abstract
Background and Importance: The COVID-19 pandemic affected the utilization of health care services and posed organizational challenges. While many previous studies focused on the misuse of pre-hospital EMS for low-urgency health problems, the pandemic has put more emphasis on the avoidance of medically [...] Read more.
Background and Importance: The COVID-19 pandemic affected the utilization of health care services and posed organizational challenges. While many previous studies focused on the misuse of pre-hospital EMS for low-urgency health problems, the pandemic has put more emphasis on the avoidance of medically necessary calls. Objective: To compare the utilization of pre-hospital emergency medical services before and after specific pandemic periods. Design, setting and participants: This was a retrospective, descriptive analysis of routine data from 26 dispatch centers in Bavaria, Germany. Outcomes measure and analysis: We investigated the number of emergencies per 100,000 population, as well as the relative change in the emergency rates and transport rates in 2020, compared to the two previous years. Boxplots showed the distributions across the Bavarian districts per calendar week. The mean rates and standard deviations as well as the relative changes were presented for the specific periods. A paired samples t-test was used to compare the rates. Main results: Compared to the average of the two previous years, the emergency rates in 2020 were lower in 35 out of 52 calendar weeks. The strongest reductions were observed during the first wave, where the average emergency rate declined by 12.9% (SD 6.8, p < 0.001). There was no statistically significant difference in the overall emergency rate during the summer holidays. Lower transport rates were observed throughout the year, especially during the first wave. Conclusions: Utilization of pre-hospital emergency medical services decreased in 2020, especially during the periods with strict measures. This could be due to the lower morbidity from the behavioral changes during the pandemic, but also to the avoidance of medical services for both less urgent and severe conditions. While a reduction in unnecessary care would be beneficial, patients must be encouraged to seek necessary urgent care, even during a pandemic. Full article
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33 pages, 5229 KiB  
Article
The Impact of Patient Infection Rate on Emergency Department Patient Flow: Hybrid Simulation Study in a Norwegian Case
by Gaute Terning, Idriss El-Thalji and Eric Christian Brun
Healthcare 2023, 11(13), 1904; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare11131904 - 30 Jun 2023
Viewed by 835
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic put emergency departments all over the world under severe and unprecedented distress. Previous methods of evaluating patient flow impact, such as in-situ simulation, tabletop studies, etc., in a rapidly evolving pandemic are prohibitively impractical, time-consuming, costly, and inflexible. For instance, [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic put emergency departments all over the world under severe and unprecedented distress. Previous methods of evaluating patient flow impact, such as in-situ simulation, tabletop studies, etc., in a rapidly evolving pandemic are prohibitively impractical, time-consuming, costly, and inflexible. For instance, it is challenging to study the patient flow in the emergency department under different infection rates and get insights using in-situ simulation and tabletop studies. Despite circumventing many of these challenges, the simulation modeling approach and hybrid agent-based modeling stand underutilized. This study investigates the impact of increased patient infection rate on the emergency department patient flow by using a developed hybrid agent-based simulation model. This study reports findings on the patient infection rate in different emergency department patient flow configurations. This study’s results quantify and demonstrate that an increase in patient infection rate will lead to an incremental deterioration of the patient flow metrics average length of stay and crowding within the emergency department, especially if the waiting functions are introduced. Along with other findings, it is concluded that waiting functions, including the waiting zone, make the single average length of stay an ineffective measure as it creates a multinomial distribution of several tendencies. Full article
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11 pages, 253 KiB  
Article
The Challenges of Gastric Cancer Surgery during the COVID-19 Pandemic
by Catalin Vladut Ionut Feier, Alaviana Monique Faur, Calin Muntean, Andiana Blidari, Oana Elena Contes, Diana Raluca Streinu and Sorin Olariu
Healthcare 2023, 11(13), 1903; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare11131903 - 30 Jun 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 825
Abstract
The aim of this study was to quantify the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the surgical treatment of patients with gastric cancer. Data from patients undergoing surgery for gastric cancer during the pandemic were analyzed and the results obtained were compared with [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to quantify the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the surgical treatment of patients with gastric cancer. Data from patients undergoing surgery for gastric cancer during the pandemic were analyzed and the results obtained were compared with the corresponding periods of 2016–2017 and 2018–2019. Various parameters were taken into consideration and their dynamics highlight significant changes in the pandemic year compared with the two pre-pandemic periods. Statistical analysis revealed a marked decrease in the number of surgeries performed during the pandemic (p < 0.001). Severe prognostic factors for gastric cancer, including weight loss and upper gastrointestinal hemorrhage, were associated with an increased number of postoperative fistulas, while emesis was statistically correlated with a more advanced cancer stage (p < 0.011). There was also a reduction in the total duration of hospitalization (p = 0.044) and postoperative hospitalization (p = 0.047); moreover, the mean duration of surgical intervention was higher during the pandemic (p = 0.044). These findings provide evidence for the significant changes in clinical and therapeutic strategies applied to patients undergoing surgery for gastric cancer during the study period. The ongoing pandemic has exerted a substantial and complex impact, the full extent of which remains yet to be fully comprehended. Full article
15 pages, 648 KiB  
Article
Clinical and Epidemiological Profiles of Primary Healthcare Professionals with COVID-19 Infection and Long COVID: An Observational Study
by Esperanza Romero-Rodríguez, Rodrigo Vélez-Santamaría, Luis Ángel Pérula-de-Torres, Jesús González-Lama, Rafael Ángel Castro-Jiménez, Lucía Simón-Vicente, Celia Jiménez-García, Jerónimo J. González-Bernal, Mirian Santamaría-Peláez, Jessica Fernández-Solana and Josefa González-Santos
Healthcare 2023, 11(12), 1677; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare11121677 - 07 Jun 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 967
Abstract
Health professionals have been one of the groups most affected by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Currently, there is little scientific evidence on the similarities and differences between COVID-19 infection and the development of long COVID in primary care (PC) workers. Therefore, it is necessary [...] Read more.
Health professionals have been one of the groups most affected by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Currently, there is little scientific evidence on the similarities and differences between COVID-19 infection and the development of long COVID in primary care (PC) workers. Therefore, it is necessary to analyse their clinical and epidemiological profiles in depth. This study was observational and descriptive, including PC professionals who were divided into three comparison groups based on the diagnostic test for acute SARS-CoV-2 infection. The responses were analysed using descriptive and bivariate analysis to examinate the relationship between independent variables and the presence or not of long COVID. Binary logistic regression analysis was also conducted, with each symptom as the dependent variable and each group as the independent variable. The results describe the sociodemographic characteristics of these population groups, revealing that women in the health sector are the most affected by long COVID and that being in this group is associated with its development. Furthermore, individuals with long COVID exhibited the highest number of symptoms and pathologies. Certain symptoms were found to be associated with long COVID development in this population, including an altered sense of smell, pneumonia, fever, and sore throat, among others. Similarly, altered senses of smell and taste, chest tightness, and joint pain, among others, were found to be associated with acute COVID-19 infection. Additionally, patients with pre-existing overweight or obesity were more likely to experience acute COVID-19 and develop long COVID. The data obtained can be crucial for improving the detection, diagnosis, and treatment of long COVID patients, ultimately leading to an enhancement in their quality of life. Full article
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17 pages, 3868 KiB  
Article
Evaluating the Impact of COVID-19 on Hospital Profit Compensation Activities: A Difference-in-Differences Event Study Analysis in China
by Chi Shen, Dan Cao, Qiwei Deng, Sha Lai, Guanping Liu, Liu Yang, Zhonghai Zhu and Zhongliang Zhou
Healthcare 2023, 11(9), 1303; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare11091303 - 03 May 2023
Viewed by 1191
Abstract
The impact of the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic is still being revealed, and little is known about the effect of COVID-19-induced outpatient and inpatient losses on hospital operations in many counties. Hence, we aimed to explore whether hospitals adopted profit compensation activities [...] Read more.
The impact of the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic is still being revealed, and little is known about the effect of COVID-19-induced outpatient and inpatient losses on hospital operations in many counties. Hence, we aimed to explore whether hospitals adopted profit compensation activities after the 2020 first-wave outbreak of COVID-19 in China. A total of 2,616,589 hospitalization records from 2018, 2019, and 2020 were extracted from 36 tertiary hospitals in a western province in China; we applied a difference-in-differences event study design to estimate the dynamic effect of COVID-19 on hospitalized patients’ total expenses before and after the last confirmed case. We found that average total expenses for each patient increased by 8.7% to 16.7% in the first 25 weeks after the city reopened and hospital admissions returned to normal. Our findings emphasize that the increase in total inpatient expenses was mainly covered by claiming expenses from health insurance and was largely driven by an increase in the expenses for laboratory tests and medical consumables. Our study documents that there were profit compensation activities in hospitals after the 2020 first-wave outbreak of COVID-19 in China, which was driven by the loss of hospitalization admissions during this wave outbreak. Full article
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13 pages, 553 KiB  
Article
Variation in Communication and Family Visiting Policies in Italian Intensive Care Units during the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Secondary Analysis of the COVISIT International Survey
by Barbara Simone, Mariachiara Ippolito, Pasquale Iozzo, Francesco Zuccaro, Antonino Giarratano, Maurizio Cecconi, Alexis Tabah and Andrea Cortegiani
Healthcare 2023, 11(5), 669; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare11050669 - 24 Feb 2023
Viewed by 1363
Abstract
Background: During COVID-19 pandemic, restrictions to in-person visiting of caregivers to patients admitted to intensive care units (ICU) were applied in many countries. Our aim was to describe the variations in communication and family visiting policies in Italian ICUs during the pandemic. Methods: [...] Read more.
Background: During COVID-19 pandemic, restrictions to in-person visiting of caregivers to patients admitted to intensive care units (ICU) were applied in many countries. Our aim was to describe the variations in communication and family visiting policies in Italian ICUs during the pandemic. Methods: A secondary analysis from the COVISIT international survey was conducted, focusing on data from Italy. Results: Italian ICUs provided 118 (18%) responses out of 667 responses collected worldwide. A total of 12 Italian ICUs were at the peak of COVID-19 admissions at the time of the survey and 42/118 had 90% or more of patients admitted to ICU affected by COVID-19. During the COVID-19 peak, 74% of Italian ICUs adopted a no-in-person-visiting policy. This remained the most common strategy (67%) at the time of the survey. Information to families was provided by regular phone calls (81% in Italy versus 47% for the rest of the world). Virtual visiting was available for 69% and most commonly performed using devices provided by the ICU (71% in Italy versus 36% outside Italy). Conclusion: Our study showed that restrictions to the ICU applied during the COVID-19 pandemic were still in use at the time of the survey. The main means of communication with caregivers were telephone and virtual meetings. Full article
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9 pages, 1644 KiB  
Article
Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Dermatology Care in the Chilean Public Health Sector
by Diego Aragón-Caqueo, Gabriel Aedo, Javier Suárez, Claudio Toloza and Antonio Guglielmetti
Healthcare 2023, 11(5), 633; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare11050633 - 21 Feb 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1061
Abstract
Due to the Coronavirus-19 (COVID-19) pandemic, most resources of the public health system were allocated to the increasing demand from respiratory patients. From this, it is expected that specialty consultations would decrease drastically. Access to dermatology care in the Chilean public health has [...] Read more.
Due to the Coronavirus-19 (COVID-19) pandemic, most resources of the public health system were allocated to the increasing demand from respiratory patients. From this, it is expected that specialty consultations would decrease drastically. Access to dermatology care in the Chilean public health has been historically limited. To evaluate the impact of the pandemic on dermatology care, the total number of dermatological consultations (DCs) to the Chilean public sector in 2020 is analyzed according to sex and age range and compared with the available databases from 2017 to 2019. From this, 120,095 DCs were performed during 2020, with an incidence of 6.3 consultations per 1000 inhabitants. When compared to 2019 (n = 250,649), there was a 52.1% decrease. The regions most affected were located in the central part of Chile, which correlates with the regions most affected by the pandemic. Age and sex distributions remained similar to previous years but lower in amplitude. The month with the lowest number of consultations was April, with a gradual increase observed thereafter until December 2020. Although DCs decreased drastically in the Chilean public sector during 2020, sex and age range proportions were conserved, thus affecting all groups in a similar manner. Full article
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14 pages, 251 KiB  
Article
Challenges in Care for Non-COVID-19 Patients with Severe Chronic Illnesses during COVID-19 Pandemic: A Qualitative Study of Healthcare Providers Working around Acute Care Hospitals in South Korea
by Yejin Kim, Jeong Mi Shin, Shin Hye Yoo and Bhumsuk Keam
Healthcare 2023, 11(4), 611; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare11040611 - 17 Feb 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1412
Abstract
Background: The COVID-19 epidemic has afflicted patients with severe chronic illnesses who need continuous care between home and hospitals. This qualitative study examines the experiences and challenges of healthcare providers around acute care hospitals who have cared for patients with severe chronic illness [...] Read more.
Background: The COVID-19 epidemic has afflicted patients with severe chronic illnesses who need continuous care between home and hospitals. This qualitative study examines the experiences and challenges of healthcare providers around acute care hospitals who have cared for patients with severe chronic illness in non-COVID-19 situations during the pandemic. Methods: Eight healthcare providers, who work in various healthcare settings around acute care hospitals and frequently care for non-COVID-19 patients with severe chronic illnesses, were recruited using purposive sampling from September to October 2021 in South Korea. The interviews were subjected to thematic analysis. Results: Four overarching themes were identified: (1) deterioration in the quality of care at various settings; (2) new emerging systemic problems; (3) healthcare providers holding on but reaching their limit; and (4) a decline in the quality of life of patients at the end of their lives, and their caregivers. Conclusion: Healthcare providers of non-COVID-19 patients with severe chronic illnesses reported that the quality of care was declining due to the structural problems of the healthcare system and policies centered solely on the prevention and control of COVID-19. Systematic solutions are needed for appropriate and seamless care for non-infected patients with severe chronic illness in the pandemic. Full article

2022

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15 pages, 730 KiB  
Article
Relationships among Healthcare Providers’ Job Demands, Leisure Involvement, Emotional Exhaustion, and Leave Intention under the COVID-19 Pandemic
by Yun-Tao Li, Shi-Jun Chen, Kuo-Jui Lin, Gordon Chih-Ming Ku, Wen-Yang Kao and I-Shen Chen
Healthcare 2023, 11(1), 56; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare11010056 - 25 Dec 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1264
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many medical issues. It has tested the impact of healthcare providers’ job demands, emotional exhaustion, and other pressures related to the impact on organizational leave intention. Accordingly, the purpose of this study was to verify the relationship between [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many medical issues. It has tested the impact of healthcare providers’ job demands, emotional exhaustion, and other pressures related to the impact on organizational leave intention. Accordingly, the purpose of this study was to verify the relationship between healthcare providers’ job demands, leisure involvement, emotional exhaustion, and leave intention under the COVID-19 pandemic. The questionnaire survey was used to address the issue of the present study. Convenience sampling was utilized to recruit 440 healthcare providers with a validity rate of 95%. Collected data were analyzed by structural equation modelling. Results indicated that healthcare providers’ job demands do not significantly influence leisure involvement. Job demands significantly influence emotional exhaustion. Job demands significantly influence leave intention. Emotional exhaustion significantly influences leave intention. Emotional exhaustion has a significant mediating effect between job demands and leave intention. Finally, relevant practical suggestions are provided based on the study results. Full article
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12 pages, 668 KiB  
Article
Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Gyne-Oncological Treatment—A Retrospective Single-Center Analysis of a German University Hospital with 30,525 Patients
by Sebastian Griewing, Matthias Kalder, Michael Lingenfelder, Uwe Wagner and Niklas Gremke
Healthcare 2022, 10(12), 2386; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare10122386 - 28 Nov 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1142
Abstract
The study pursues the objective of drawing a comparison between the data of gyne-oncology, gynecology, and obstetrics patient collectives of a German university hospital regarding the progression of patient number and corresponding treatment data during the five-year period of 2017–2021 to assess the [...] Read more.
The study pursues the objective of drawing a comparison between the data of gyne-oncology, gynecology, and obstetrics patient collectives of a German university hospital regarding the progression of patient number and corresponding treatment data during the five-year period of 2017–2021 to assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on gyne-oncological treatment. Descriptive assessment is based on data extracted from the database of the hospital controlling system QlikView® for patients hospitalized at the Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics of Marburg University Hospital. Gynecology and gyne-oncology experience a maintained decline in patient number (nGynecology: −6% 2019 to 2020, −5% 2019 to 2021; nGyne-Oncology: −6% 2019 to 2020, −2% 2019 to 2021) with varying effects on the specific gyne-oncological main diagnoses. Treatment parameters remain unchanged in relative assessment, but as gyne-oncology constitutes the dominating revenue contributor in gynecology (35.1% of patients, 52.9% of revenue, 2021), the extent of the decrease in total revenue (−18%, 2019 to 2020, −14%, 2019 to 2021) surpasses the decline in patient number. The study displays a negative impact on the gynecology care situation of a German university hospital for the entire pandemic, with an even greater extent on gyne-oncology. This development not only endangers the quality of medical service provision but collaterally pressurizes gynecology service providers. Full article
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8 pages, 537 KiB  
Article
Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Oncological Surgery Activities: A Retrospective Study from a Southern Italian Region
by Giuseppe Di Martino, Fabrizio Cedrone, Pamela Di Giovanni, Ferdinando Romano and Tommaso Staniscia
Healthcare 2022, 10(11), 2329; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare10112329 - 21 Nov 2022
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 1267
Abstract
(1) Background: The pandemic had a strong impact on healthcare for other diseases, the so-called collateral damage. This situation heavily impacted the health care system, causing a deferment of surgical admissions. This situation had an immediate and long-term impact on millions of patients [...] Read more.
(1) Background: The pandemic had a strong impact on healthcare for other diseases, the so-called collateral damage. This situation heavily impacted the health care system, causing a deferment of surgical admissions. This situation had an immediate and long-term impact on millions of patients with surgical diseases all over the world. The objective of this study was to evaluate the incidence of hospitalizations for colorectal and breast cancers in an Italian region in the year 2020 and compare it with the years 2018–2019. (2) Methods: This retrospective study was performed in the region of Abruzzo, Italy. Monthly number of hospitalizations in the year 2020 was compared with a control period consisting of the average of admissions that occurred in the years 2018–2019 using Poisson regression. (3) Results: A reduction in hospital admissions for all diseases considered was found. In particular, compared with years 2018–2019, admissions for colorectal cancer were 35.71% lower (HRR 0.915; p < 0.001), and admissions for breast cancer were 10.36% lower (HRR 0.895; p < 0.001) (4) Conclusions: The results of this study showed the decrease of admissions for elective oncological surgery during pandemic, suggesting the need of strategic measures to face the burden of future years’ hospitalizations. Full article
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19 pages, 342 KiB  
Article
Hospital Staffing during the COVID-19 Pandemic in Sweden
by Ritva Rosenbäck, Björn Lantz and Peter Rosén
Healthcare 2022, 10(10), 2116; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare10102116 - 21 Oct 2022
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1741
Abstract
Staff management challenges in the healthcare system are inherently different during pandemic conditions than under normal circumstances. Surge capacity must be rapidly increased, particularly in the intensive care units (ICU), to handle the increased pressure, without depleting the rest of the system. In [...] Read more.
Staff management challenges in the healthcare system are inherently different during pandemic conditions than under normal circumstances. Surge capacity must be rapidly increased, particularly in the intensive care units (ICU), to handle the increased pressure, without depleting the rest of the system. In addition, sickness or fatigue among the staff can become a critical issue. This study explores the lessons learned by first- and second-line managers in Sweden with regard to staff management during the COVID-19 pandemic. A mixed-methods approach was used, with preliminary qualitative interview (n = 38) and principal quantitative questionnaire (n = 272) studies, based on principal component and multiple regression analyses. The results revealed that the pandemic created four types of challenges relating to staff management: staff movement within hospitals; addition of external staff; addition of hours for existing staff through overtime and new shift schedules; and avoidance of lost hours due to sickness or fatigue. Furthermore, the effects of these managerial challenges were different in the first wave than in later waves, and they significantly differed between the ICU and other units. Therefore, a greater proactive focus on staff management would be beneficial in future pandemic situations. Full article
14 pages, 439 KiB  
Article
Psychophysical Risk Perceptions and Sleep Quality of Medical Assistance Team Members in Square Cabin Hospitals: A Repeated Cross-Sectional Study
by Qianlan Yin, Xiaoqin Shao, Rong Zhang, Jiemei Fan, Wei Dong and Guanghui Deng
Healthcare 2022, 10(10), 2048; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare10102048 - 17 Oct 2022
Viewed by 1088
Abstract
Objective: This study aimed to evaluate the association between the perceptions of psychophysical risks and sleep quality of Medical Assistance Team Members (MATMs) in Square Cabin Hospitals. Methods: Repeated cross-sectional data collection was conducted in Square Cabin Hospitals during two large-scale lockdowns. The [...] Read more.
Objective: This study aimed to evaluate the association between the perceptions of psychophysical risks and sleep quality of Medical Assistance Team Members (MATMs) in Square Cabin Hospitals. Methods: Repeated cross-sectional data collection was conducted in Square Cabin Hospitals during two large-scale lockdowns. The first wave was sampled from MATMs dispatched to Wuhan and the second was from MATMs dispatched to Shanghai. Participants completed online questionnaires comprised of the Risk Perception Questionnaire (RPQ), Positive and negative emotions scale (PANAS), and Sleep Quality Scale (SQS), measuring the psychophysical risk perceptions about the MATMs’ current work, emotional states, and sleep quality. Changes across two waves of data collection were statistically parsed using the exploratory factor analysis and regression models. Results: Data of 220 participants from first-wave samples [S1] and 300 from second-wave samples [S2] were analyzed. Participants reported more worries about physical risks, such as inadequate protection methods and being infected, and S1 rated higher on all risks compared with S2 (as the biggest p-value was 0.021). Across the different situations, the dominant emotional states of MATMs were positive; a higher level of psychophysical risk perceptions, negative emotional states, and poor sleep quality were consistently interrelated. The psychophysical risk perceptions predicted sleep quality. Negative emotions as a state variable intensified the relationship between physical risk perceptions and sleep quality (bindirect effect = 1.084, bootstrapped CI = [0.705, 1.487]). Conclusions: The results provide important evidence that MATMs’ higher level of psychophysical risk perceptions associated with negative emotions could indicate worse sleep quality. Full article
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8 pages, 559 KiB  
Article
The Increased Mortality Rate with Lower Incidence of Traumatic Brain Injury during the COVID-19 Pandemic: A National Study
by Grzegorz Miękisiak, Dariusz Szarek, Samuel D. Pettersson, Celina Pezowicz, Piotr Morasiewicz, Łukasz Kubaszewski and Tomasz Szmuda
Healthcare 2022, 10(10), 1954; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare10101954 - 06 Oct 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1826
Abstract
Background: the COVID-19 pandemic with the following lockdown strategies have affected virtually all aspects of everyday life. Health services all over the world faced the crisis on an unprecedented scale, hampering timely care delivery. The present study was designed to assess the impact [...] Read more.
Background: the COVID-19 pandemic with the following lockdown strategies have affected virtually all aspects of everyday life. Health services all over the world faced the crisis on an unprecedented scale, hampering timely care delivery. The present study was designed to assess the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on the incidence and treatment of traumatic brain injuries in Poland. Methods: the data on hospital admissions with traumatic brain injuries as the primary diagnosis were extracted from the National Health Fund of Poland. For the purpose of this study, the search was limited to four relevant diagnosis-related groups. The overall in-house mortality was calculated. Results: there were 115,200 hospitalizations due to traumatic brain injury identified in the database. Overall, in comparison with the average of six prior years, in 2020 the volume of patients with traumatic brain injury dropped by 24.68% while the in-house mortality rate was increased by 26.75%. Conclusions: the COVID-19 pandemic with the resulting lockdown caused a radical reduction in human mobility. It had a profound impact on the incidence of traumatic brain injury, which dropped significantly. At the same time, the mortality rate increased drastically. Full article
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15 pages, 1911 KiB  
Article
Decision Conflicts in Clinical Care during COVID-19: A Multi-Perspective Inquiry
by Joerg Haier, Johannes Beller, Kristina Adorjan, Stefan Bleich, Moritz de Greck, Frank Griesinger, Markus Heppt, René Hurlemann, Soeren Torge Mees, Alexandra Philipsen, Gernot Rohde, Georgia Schilling, Karolin Trautmann, Stephanie E. Combs, Siegfried Geyer and Juergen Schaefers
Healthcare 2022, 10(10), 1914; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare10101914 - 29 Sep 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1616
Abstract
Background: The early COVID-19-pandemic was characterized by changes in decision making, decision-relevant value systems and the related perception of decisional uncertainties and conflicts resulting in decisional burden and stress. The vulnerability of clinical care professionals to these decisional dilemmas has not been characterized [...] Read more.
Background: The early COVID-19-pandemic was characterized by changes in decision making, decision-relevant value systems and the related perception of decisional uncertainties and conflicts resulting in decisional burden and stress. The vulnerability of clinical care professionals to these decisional dilemmas has not been characterized yet. Methods: A cross-sectional questionnaire study (540 patients, 322 physicians and 369 nurses in 11 institutions throughout Germany) was carried out. The inclusion criterion was active involvement in clinical treatment or decision making in oncology or psychiatry during the first year of COVID-19. The questionnaires covered five decision dimensions (conflicts and uncertainty, resources, risk perception, perception of consequences for clinical processes, and the perception of consequences for patients). Data analysis was performed using ANOVA, Pearson rank correlations, and the Chi²-test, and for inferential analysis, nominal logistic regression and tree classification were conducted. Results: Professionals reported changes in clinical management (27.5%) and a higher workload (29.2%), resulting in decisional uncertainty (19.2%) and decisional conflicts (22.7%), with significant differences between professional groups (p < 0.005), including anxiety, depression, loneliness and stress in professional subgroups (p < 0.001). Nominal regression analysis targeting “Decisional Uncertainty” provided a highly significant prediction model (LQ p < 0.001) containing eight variables, and the analysis for “Decisional Conflicts” included six items. The classification rates were 64.4% and 92.7%, respectively. Tree analysis confirmed three levels of determinants. Conclusions: Decisional uncertainty and conflicts during the COVID-19 pandemic were independent of the actual pandemic load. Vulnerable professional groups for the perception of a high number of decisional dilemmas were characterized by individual perception and the psychological framework. Coping and management strategies should target vulnerability, enable the handling of the individual perception of decisional dilemmas and ensure information availability and specific support for younger professionals. Full article
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9 pages, 265 KiB  
Article
The Preventive Health Professions in Italy: The Efficient Use of Resources, Skills and Best Practice during the Pandemic
by Vincenzo Marcotrigiano, Fabio Pattavina, Lorenzo Blangiardi, Gerardo Salerno, Annamaria Dalena, Flavio Del Bianco, Marcella Di Fant, Anna Fabbro, Mariarita Forgiarini, Carola Lanzilotti, Malgorzata Wachocka, Paola Marchet, Mirko Mazzurana, Roberto Rizzi, Carmela Russo, Fabiana Salerno, Mattia Vailati, Giacomo Domenico Stingi, Patrizia Laurenti, Antonio Ferro, Sandro Cinquetti and Christian Napoliadd Show full author list remove Hide full author list
Healthcare 2022, 10(10), 1906; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare10101906 - 28 Sep 2022
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 2208
Abstract
Health visitors (HVs) and environmental health officers (EHOs) are the healthcare workers (HCWs) who, in the Italian National Health Service, mainly operate in the prevention departments of local health authorities, guaranteeing the territorial activities specifically declared with the respective professional profiles. During the [...] Read more.
Health visitors (HVs) and environmental health officers (EHOs) are the healthcare workers (HCWs) who, in the Italian National Health Service, mainly operate in the prevention departments of local health authorities, guaranteeing the territorial activities specifically declared with the respective professional profiles. During the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, it was necessary to reallocate all HCWs supporting Hygiene and Public Health Services involved on the front lines of the emergency, in order to perform preventive activities and to take immediate action to fight the spread of the virus. By means of an IT survey consisting of three sections, this study investigated how 960 HVs and EHOs dealt with this reallocation, with the shifting in service assignment, and with the perceived level of fatigue and pressure, through the application of skills acquired from university training. The synergy among the preventive health professions, the ability to work in a multi-professional team, and the complementary training of HCWs represent the main strengths for overcoming future public health challenges, aimed at protecting human health. Full article
13 pages, 436 KiB  
Article
Low Seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 among Healthcare Workers in Malaysia during the Third COVID-19 Wave: Prospective Study with Literature Survey on Infection Prevention and Control Measures
by Nik Mohd Noor Nik Zuraina, Mohd Zulkifli Salleh, Mohd Habil Kamaruzaman, Nur Suhaila Idris, Alwi Muhd Besari, Wan Mohd Zahiruddin Wan Mohammad, Nabilah Ismail, Ahmad Sukari Halim and Zakuan Zainy Deris
Healthcare 2022, 10(10), 1810; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare10101810 - 20 Sep 2022
Viewed by 1520
Abstract
Healthcare workers (HCWs) are at greater risk for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection. This serology surveillance study aimed to investigate the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies among the HCWs who were asymptomatic during the third wave of COVID-19 in Malaysia. HCWs from [...] Read more.
Healthcare workers (HCWs) are at greater risk for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection. This serology surveillance study aimed to investigate the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies among the HCWs who were asymptomatic during the third wave of COVID-19 in Malaysia. HCWs from the Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) Health Campus were prospectively recruited between August 2020 and March 2021 on a voluntary basis. Data on socio-demographics, possible risk factors and travel history were recorded. Serological diagnoses from serum samples were examined for total antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 using an immunoassay kit. A literature survey was performed on the compliance with infection and prevention control (IPC) practices for COVID-19 among HCWs. The majority of the total 617 HCWs participating in this study were nurses (64.3%, n = 397), followed by health attendants (20.9%, n = 129), medical doctors (9.6%, n = 59) and others (6.3%, n = 39). Of those, 28.2% (n = 174) claimed to have exposure to COVID-19 cases, including history of close contact and casual contact with infected patients. Most importantly, all serum samples were found to be non-reactive to SARS-CoV-2, although nearly half (40.0%, n = 246) of the HCWs had been involved directly in the management of acute respiratory illness cases. A proportion of 12.7% (n = 78) of the HCWs reported having underlying health problems, such as diabetes mellitus, hypertension and hyperlipidemia. Despite the presence of medical and sociological risks associated with SARS-CoV-2 infections, the current study found zero prevalence of antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 among the HCWs of USM. Based on the literature survey, the vast majority of Malaysian HCWs demonstrated good IPC practices during the pandemic (average percentage ranged between 92.2% and 99.8%). High compliance with IPC measures may have led to the low seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 among the HCWs. Full article
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9 pages, 514 KiB  
Article
Peripheral Artery Disease Causes More Harm to Patients than COVID-19
by Mohammad Mahdi Kasiri, Martina Mittlboek, Giurgiana-Aura Giurgea, Norbert Fortner, Philip Lirk, Wolf Eilenberg, Bernd Gollackner and Christoph Neumayer
Healthcare 2022, 10(10), 1809; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare10101809 - 20 Sep 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1130
Abstract
Background: To optimize our strategic planning, we aimed to investigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the treatment of patients with peripheral artery disease (PAD) at our tertiary care hospital. Methods: We performed a retrospective single-center cohort study. In total, 1210 patients [...] Read more.
Background: To optimize our strategic planning, we aimed to investigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the treatment of patients with peripheral artery disease (PAD) at our tertiary care hospital. Methods: We performed a retrospective single-center cohort study. In total, 1210 patients were included: 611 patients admitted between March and December 2020, compared to retrospective data from 599 patients from the same period in 2019. Results: Emergency admissions involving patients with advanced stage PAD increased significantly during the pandemic period of 2020, compared to the same period in 2019 (p < 0.0098). This increase was accompanied by increased limb amputations performed during the first lockdown, post-lockdown and the second lockdown in 2020, compared to respective time periods in 2019 (p < 0.0003, p < 0.0004, p = 1). No SARS-CoV-2 infection was observed among patients with PAD during the observation period. Conclusions: Strict lockdown protocols adversely affected the care of PAD patients, with persisting aftereffects, including increased emergency admission with unsuccessful revascularization attempts leading to limb amputation, even after the peak of the pandemic had passed. We believe that providing continuous care to PAD patients, even in times of global pandemics, will prevent the unfavorable outcomes observed during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Full article
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14 pages, 1041 KiB  
Article
Best Practices on Radiology Department Workflow: Tips from the Impact of the COVID-19 Lockdown on an Italian University Hospital
by Fabio Pellegrino, Aldo Carnevale, Riccardo Bisi, Davide Cavedagna, Roberto Reverberi, Licia Uccelli, Stefano Leprotti and Melchiore Giganti
Healthcare 2022, 10(9), 1771; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare10091771 - 14 Sep 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1562
Abstract
Purpose: The workload of the radiology department (RD) of a university hospital in northern Italy dramatically changed during the COVID-19 outbreak. The restrictive measures of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown influenced the use of radiological services and particularly in the emergency department (ED). Methods: [...] Read more.
Purpose: The workload of the radiology department (RD) of a university hospital in northern Italy dramatically changed during the COVID-19 outbreak. The restrictive measures of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown influenced the use of radiological services and particularly in the emergency department (ED). Methods: Data on diagnostic services from March 2020 to May 2020 were retrospectively collected and analysed in aggregate form and compared with those of the same timeframe in the previous year. Data were sorted by patient type in the following categories: inpatients, outpatients, and ED patients; the latter divided in “traumatic” and “not traumatic” cases. Results: Compared to 2019, 6449 fewer patients (−32.6%) were assisted in the RD. This decrease was more pronounced for the emergency radiology unit (ERU) (−41%) compared to the general radiology unit (−25.7%). The proportion of investigations performed for trauma appeared to decrease significantly from 14.8% to 12.5% during the COVID-19 emergency (p < 0.001). Similarly, the proportion of assisted traumatic patients decreased from 16.6% to 12.5% (p < 0.001). The number of emergency patients assisted by the RD was significantly reduced from 45% during routine activity to 39.4% in the COVID-19 outbreak (p < 0.001). Conclusion: The COVID-19 outbreak had a tremendous impact on all radiology activities. We documented a drastic reduction in total imaging volume compared to 2019 because of both the pandemic and the lockdown. In this context, investigations performed for trauma showed a substantial decrease. Full article
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10 pages, 368 KiB  
Article
The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Ophthalmic Outpatient Care in a Tertiary Care Center in Riyadh
by Majed S. Alkharashi, Heba M. Alsharif, Faisal A. Altahan, Ahmad W. Alrashed and Moath Abdulghani
Healthcare 2022, 10(9), 1654; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare10091654 - 30 Aug 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1226
Abstract
In this paper, we measured the impact of a full COVID-19 lockdown on ophthalmic patients after a period of lockdown in Saudi Arabia, from March to September 2020. A cross-sectional analytical study was carried out on 180 patients who had their appointments delayed [...] Read more.
In this paper, we measured the impact of a full COVID-19 lockdown on ophthalmic patients after a period of lockdown in Saudi Arabia, from March to September 2020. A cross-sectional analytical study was carried out on 180 patients who had their appointments delayed or canceled due to the lockdown. Data was collected from electronic medical records and patients via voice calls using a validated questionnaire that were analyzed using a multivariable binary regression analysis. The results show no statistically significant mean difference in visual acuity when comparing pre- and post-lockdown measurements. The median number of appointment cancellations/delays per patient was two, and the estimated delay for the first canceled appointments was equal to 178.8 days. Of the cohort studied, 15.4% of patients faced delays in necessary surgical and therapeutic interventions; 22.1% of patients sought eye care at other institutions due to the delay, and 15% of those were seen by doctors unspecialized in ophthalmology. The odds of dissatisfaction with care were higher in patients who experienced cancellations in a surgical procedure and patients who experienced difficulty in obtaining medications. In conclusion, the pandemic hampered ophthalmic patients’ access to medications. Subjective visual outcomes of patients were also negatively affected; however, the change in objective visual parameters was not statistically significant. Full article
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17 pages, 309 KiB  
Article
A Qualitative Assessment of the Essential Health and Nutrition Service Delivery in the Context of COVID-19 in Bangladesh: The Perspective of Divisional Directors
by Pablo Gaitán-Rossi, Mireya Vilar-Compte, Valeria Cruz-Villalba, Nazme Sabina and Manuela Villar-Uribe
Healthcare 2022, 10(9), 1619; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare10091619 - 25 Aug 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1608
Abstract
Bangladesh suffered disruptions in the utilization of essential health and nutrition services (EHNS) during the COVID-19 pandemic. The magnitude of the pandemic has been documented, but little is known from the perspectives of health administrators. A rapid qualitative assessment of division-level capacity identified [...] Read more.
Bangladesh suffered disruptions in the utilization of essential health and nutrition services (EHNS) during the COVID-19 pandemic. The magnitude of the pandemic has been documented, but little is known from the perspectives of health administrators. A rapid qualitative assessment of division-level capacity identified successes and bottlenecks in providing EHNS- and COVID-19-related services during the first months of the pandemic in Bangladesh. Semi-structured interviews were held with the Health and Family Planning Divisional Directors of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. The Primary Health Care System Framework guided the content analysis, focusing on (i) service delivery, (ii) communication and community outreach, and (iii) surveillance and service monitoring. Our findings identified low care seeking due to fears of getting infected and unawareness that EHNS were still available. Adaptations to telemedicine were highly heterogeneous between divisions, but collaboration with NGOs were fruitful in reinstating outreach activities. Guidelines were centered on COVID-19 information and less so on EHNS. The inflexibility of spending capacities at divisional and clinic levels hindered service provision. Misinformation and information voids were difficult to handle all around the country. Community health workers were useful for outreach communication. EHNS must be guaranteed during sanitary emergencies, and Bangladesh presented with both significant efforts and areas of opportunity for improvement. Full article
6 pages, 708 KiB  
Brief Report
The COVID-19 Pandemic and the Migrant Population for HIV Diagnosis and Care Follow-Up: They Are Left Behind
by David Zucman, Amina Rasnaama, Catherine Majerholc and Alexandre Vallée
Healthcare 2022, 10(9), 1607; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare10091607 - 24 Aug 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1229
Abstract
The coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has posed numerous worldwide challenges. The level of social vulnerability of the migrant population is disproportionately higher than other populations. Recent reports have shown that the access to care for the migrant population (i.e., non-French nationality patients) were [...] Read more.
The coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has posed numerous worldwide challenges. The level of social vulnerability of the migrant population is disproportionately higher than other populations. Recent reports have shown that the access to care for the migrant population (i.e., non-French nationality patients) were greatly impacted during this pandemic. Thus, we would like to highlight the significant impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on care follow-up in those migrant people infected with HIV who receive HIV care in France. Two groups of patients were defined: that is, patients with continuous care and patients with a loss of follow-up of at least one year during the COVID-19 pandemic. Among 672 HIV patients, 19 (2.7%) patients were lost to follow-up for at least one year during the COVID-19 pandemic. We found no significant difference for gender (p = 0.332) or age (p = 0.115) between the two groups. However, patients with a loss of follow-up were mainly migrants rather than from the other group (p < 0.001), and the same results were observed for the nation of birth (89.5% vs. 44%, p < 0.001). In our hospital, most of the patients who were living abroad but had HIV care in France before the COVID epidemic (mainly retired migrants) were lost to follow-up during the COVID-19 pandemic. To date, most of them have not resumed HIV care in France and we do not know their present situation. We can only observe that the COVID-19 pandemic has predominately disrupted the HIV care of migrant populations. Do not let them be left behind! Full article
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12 pages, 286 KiB  
Article
The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Inpatient Admissions for Psychotic and Affective Disorders: The Experience of a Large Psychiatric Teaching Hospital in Romania
by Vlad Dionisie, Adela Magdalena Ciobanu, Emanuel Moisa, Mihnea Costin Manea and Maria Gabriela Puiu
Healthcare 2022, 10(8), 1570; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare10081570 - 18 Aug 2022
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 1580
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a global sanitary crisis and, in addition, elicited serious mental health consequences. The utilization of psychiatric hospital-based services acts as an indicator of public mental health. Therefore, this research sought to investigate differences in the numbers and characteristics [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a global sanitary crisis and, in addition, elicited serious mental health consequences. The utilization of psychiatric hospital-based services acts as an indicator of public mental health. Therefore, this research sought to investigate differences in the numbers and characteristics of inpatient admissions for psychotic and affective disorders at the largest Romanian psychiatric hospital between the period of lockdown (16 March–15 May 2020) and another three corresponding periods: the same year in the pre-lockdown period (16 January–15 March 2020), the immediate post-lockdown period (16 May–15 July 2020), and two years later (16 March–15 May 2022). A retrospective analysis was performed. The study included a total of 6604 patients. Inpatient admissions decreased during lockdown in comparison with the pre-lockdown period and immediate post-lockdown period for psychotic disorders (p < 0.001 and p < 0.001, respectively) and affective disorders (p < 0.001 and p < 0.001, respectively). For both psychotic and affective disorders, a decrease in the age of the patients admitted during lockdown, as compared with the pre-lockdown period (p < 0.05 and p < 0.001, respectively), was observed. The length of the hospital stay for affective disorders was higher immediately post-lockdown in comparison with the lockdown period (p < 0.001). Collectively, the present findings provide a glimpse of the immediate and long-term consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown measures on patients’ access to mental healthcare in the form of hospitalization, and these findings could provide the basis for the development of a different approach to times of crisis. Full article
9 pages, 260 KiB  
Article
Firth’s Logistic Regression of Interruption in Treatment before and after the Onset of COVID-19 among People Living with HIV on ART in Two Provinces of DRC
by Gulzar H. Shah, Gina D. Etheredge, Jessica S. Schwind, Lievain Maluantesa, Kristie C. Waterfield, Astrid Mulenga, Osaremhen Ikhile, Elodie Engetele and Elizabeth Ayangunna
Healthcare 2022, 10(8), 1516; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare10081516 - 12 Aug 2022
Viewed by 1333
Abstract
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic extends beyond the immediate physical effects of the virus, including service adjustments for people living with the human immunodeficiency virus (PLHIV) on antiretroviral therapy (ART). Purpose: To compare treatment interruptions in the year immediately pre-COVID-19 and after [...] Read more.
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic extends beyond the immediate physical effects of the virus, including service adjustments for people living with the human immunodeficiency virus (PLHIV) on antiretroviral therapy (ART). Purpose: To compare treatment interruptions in the year immediately pre-COVID-19 and after the onset of COVID-19 (10 April 2020 to 30 March 2021). Methods: We analyze quantitative data covering 36,585 persons with HIV who initiated antiretroviral treatment (ART) between 1 April 2019 and 30 March 2021 at 313 HIV/AIDS care clinics in the Haut-Katanga and Kinshasa provinces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), using Firth’s logistic regression. Results: Treatment interruption occurs in 0.9% of clients and tuberculosis (TB) is detected in 1.1% of clients. The odds of treatment interruption are significantly higher (adjusted odds ratio: 12.5; 95% confidence interval, CI (8.5–18.3)) in the pre-COVID-19 period compared to during COVID-19. The odds of treatment interruption are also higher for clients with TB, those receiving ART at urban clinics, those younger than 15 years old, and female clients (p < 0.05). Conclusions: The clients receiving ART from HIV clinics in two provinces of DRC had a lower risk of treatment interruption during COVID-19 than the year before COVID-19, attributable to program adjustments. Full article
10 pages, 241 KiB  
Article
Patient Management in the Emergency Department during a COVID-19 Pandemic
by Marlena Robakowska, Anna Tyrańska-Fobke, Katarzyna Pogorzelczyk, Joanna Synoweć, Daniel Ślęzak, Piotr Robakowski, Patryk Rzońca and Paweł Prędkiewicz
Healthcare 2022, 10(8), 1456; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare10081456 - 03 Aug 2022
Viewed by 1265
Abstract
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, international action has been taken to prevent the spread of the disease. The aim of this study is to establish the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on emergency department utilization patterns in Poland. It was established [...] Read more.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, international action has been taken to prevent the spread of the disease. The aim of this study is to establish the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on emergency department utilization patterns in Poland. It was established that age (among COVID-19 positive patients) has a large influence on the occurrence of a mental illness or disorder. It has been proven that the older the person (patients diagnosed with U07.1), the more often mental diseases/disorders are diagnosed (p = 0.009–0.044). Gender decides the course of hospitalization to the disadvantage of men (p = 0.022). Men diagnosed with U07.1 stay much longer in specialized long-term care units. Lower-aged patients have a shorter hospitalization time (up to the age of 29; p = 0.017). The COVID-19 pandemic has placed healthcare systems, their staff, and their patients in an unprecedented situation. Our study showed changes in the number and characteristics of patients visiting the ED during COVID-19. Despite the shift in the center of gravity of health system functioning to the treatment of SARS-CoV-2 infected patients, care must be taken to ensure that uninfected patients have access to treatment for cardiovascular, mental health, oncological, and other diseases. Full article
12 pages, 256 KiB  
Article
The COVID-19 Pandemic and Patient Safety Culture: A Cross-Sectional Study among Community Pharmacies in Jordan
by Mohammad Abu Assab, Deema Jaber, Haneen Basheer, Hanadi Abu Assab and Haya Al-Atram
Healthcare 2022, 10(8), 1434; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare10081434 - 30 Jul 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1822
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically imposed stressful conditions that may impact the ability of healthcare staff to provide safe and effective care. Research on patient safety culture among community pharmacies during the pandemic is limited. This study aimed to assess the patient safety [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically imposed stressful conditions that may impact the ability of healthcare staff to provide safe and effective care. Research on patient safety culture among community pharmacies during the pandemic is limited. This study aimed to assess the patient safety culture among community pharmacies in Jordan during the COVID-19 pandemic. Pharmacists and pharmacy assistants from 450 community pharmacies were approached through online means, with 378 answering the questionnaire written in Arabic that had been adapted from the Community Pharmacy Survey on Patient Safety Culture (PSOPSC). This study showed that various patient safety standards were addressed to a high degree during the COVID-19 pandemic, as represented by the high positive response rate (PRR) measures that were mainly observed in the dimensions “Teamwork” (90.1%), “Patient Counseling” (85.2%), and “Staff Training and Skills” (82.7%). Furthermore, significantly higher PRR scores for the “Teamwork”, “Staffing, Work Pressure, and Pace”, “Response to Mistakes”, “Organizational Learning—Continuous Improvement”, and “Overall Perceptions of Patient Safety” dimensions were observed among participants who worked in independent pharmacies than those who worked in chain pharmacies. Despite an overall positive patient safety culture in the current context of community pharmacies in Jordan during the COVID-19 pandemic, pitfalls were observed in the “Staffing, Work Pressure, and Pace” dimension. Full article
11 pages, 469 KiB  
Article
Effect of COVID-19 Lockdowns on Eye Emergency Department, Increasing Prevalence of Uveitis and Optic Neuritis in the COVID-19 Era
by Joanna Przybek-Skrzypecka, Alina Szewczuk, Anna Kamińska, Janusz Skrzypecki, Aleksandra Pyziak-Skupień and Jacek Paweł Szaflik
Healthcare 2022, 10(8), 1422; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare10081422 - 29 Jul 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1189
Abstract
Background: The COVID-19 pandemic led to the reorganization of the health care system. A decline in health- and life-saving procedures has been reported in various medical specialties. However, data on ophthalmic emergencies during lockdowns is limited. Methods: We conducted a retrospective, observational, case-control [...] Read more.
Background: The COVID-19 pandemic led to the reorganization of the health care system. A decline in health- and life-saving procedures has been reported in various medical specialties. However, data on ophthalmic emergencies during lockdowns is limited. Methods: We conducted a retrospective, observational, case-control study of 2351 patients registered at the ophthalmic emergency department of a tertiary hospital in Poland during three national COVID-19 lockdowns (March/April 2020, November 2020, and March/April 2021) and corresponding months in 2019. Results: The total number of visits declined from a mean of 720/month in the non-COVID era to 304/month during COVID-19 lockdowns (p < 0.001). Ocular trauma incidence dropped significantly from 2019 (non-COVID months) to 2020/2021 (COVID group mean 201 vs. 97 patients monthly, respectively, p = 0.03). Of note, the percentage of foreign bodies removal was significantly higher during lockdowns than corresponding time in the non-COVID era. A downward trend for vitreous detachment and macular disorders cases was observed between COVID and non-COVID time. Uveitis and optic neuritis patients were seen more often during lockdowns (p < 0.001 and p = 0.0013, respectively). In contrast, the frequency of conjunctivitis and keratitis, potentially COVID-related problems, decreased significantly in COVID-19 time (mean 138 vs. 23 per month in non-COVID vs. COVID lockdowns, respectively, p < 0.001). Conclusions: The overall number of eye emergency visits declined during COVID-19 lockdowns. Conjunctivitis and keratitis rates dropped during the lockdowns. Interestingly, the frequency of immune-mediated ocular conditions (uveitis, optic neuritis) increased significantly which might be triggered by SARS-CoV2 infection. Full article
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7 pages, 843 KiB  
Article
Dynamics in the Neurotrauma Catchment Area of a German University Hospital during the COVID-19 Pandemic
by Rosita Rupa, Tim Vladimirov, Mirza Pojskic, Christopher Nimsky and Benjamin Voellger
Healthcare 2022, 10(8), 1376; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare10081376 - 24 Jul 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1239
Abstract
Objective: At the beginning of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic enforced a rapid reallocation of healthcare resources. Our neurosurgical department is located in the German county of Marburg–Biedenkopf, about 80 km from the nearest major city. We were able to maintain our previously established [...] Read more.
Objective: At the beginning of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic enforced a rapid reallocation of healthcare resources. Our neurosurgical department is located in the German county of Marburg–Biedenkopf, about 80 km from the nearest major city. We were able to maintain our previously established open-door policy after the emergence of COVID-19. Here, we report on dynamics in the catchment area for neurotrauma patients at our department during the pandemic. Methods: 763 consecutive neurotrauma cases admitted to our department between 1 January 2018 and 31 December 2021 were analyzed retrospectively. Patients’ age, gender, origin, diagnoses, and outcomes were recorded. The number of patients hospitalized with a COVID-19 infection in Germany (PHCG) were retrieved from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI). We defined calendar weeks with >1000 PHCG as high COVID-19 caseload weeks (HCLW). Chi-square and Fisher’s exact served as statistical tests. Results: In 2020 and 2021, we observed a significantly increased number of neurotrauma patients who, with primary residence outside of our district, were admitted to our hospital compared to 2018 and 2019 (p < 0.001), while there were no significant differences in in-house mortality. During HCLW, a significantly increased number of neurotrauma patients with primary residence in the densely populated southwestern margin (SWM) of the contiguous part of our catchment area were referred to us compared to the time prior to the pandemic and between HCLW (p = 0.003). In neurotrauma patients admitted from the SWM during HCLW, there was no tendency towards higher in-house mortality. Conclusion: An open-door policy may moderate the risk of involuntarily triaging neurotrauma patients during a pandemic. Full article
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9 pages, 261 KiB  
Article
Acute Biliary Pancreatitis Management during the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pandemic
by Elif Çolak and Ahmet Burak Çiftci
Healthcare 2022, 10(7), 1284; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare10071284 - 11 Jul 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1235
Abstract
(1) Objective: We aimed to analyze and describe the management of acute biliary pancreatitis (ABP) during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. (2) Methods: This was a retrospective cohort study among patients with ABP during a control period (16 March 2019 to 15 [...] Read more.
(1) Objective: We aimed to analyze and describe the management of acute biliary pancreatitis (ABP) during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. (2) Methods: This was a retrospective cohort study among patients with ABP during a control period (16 March 2019 to 15 March 2020; period 1) and a COVID-19 period (16 March 2020 to 15 March 2021; period 2). (3) Results: We included 89 patients with ABP, being 58 in period 1 and 31 in period 2. The mean patient age was 62.75 ± 16.59 years, and 51 (57.3%) patients were women. The Quick Sequential Organ Failure Assessment score for sepsis and World Society of Emergency Surgery Sepsis Severity Score were significantly higher among patients in period 2. Twenty-two patients (37.9%) in period 1 and six (19.3%) in period 2 underwent cholecystectomy. There were no significant differences in surgical interventions between the two periods. The hospital mortality rate was 3.4 and 19.3% in period 1 and period 2, respectively. Mortality was significantly higher in period 2. Conclusion: During the COVID-19 pandemic, we observed a significant reduction in the number of patients with ABP but increased severity and mortality. Multicenter studies with more patients are needed to obtain additional evidence regarding ABP management during the COVID-19 pandemic. Full article
15 pages, 702 KiB  
Article
Healthcare Avoidance before and during the COVID-19 Pandemic among Australian Youth: A Longitudinal Study
by Md Irteja Islam, Joseph Freeman, Verity Chadwick and Alexandra Martiniuk
Healthcare 2022, 10(7), 1261; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare10071261 - 06 Jul 2022
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2315
Abstract
Background: Access to healthcare for young people is essential to ensure they can build a foundation for a healthy life. However, during the COVID-19 pandemic, many people avoided seeking healthcare, adversely affecting population health. We investigated the factors associated with the avoidance of [...] Read more.
Background: Access to healthcare for young people is essential to ensure they can build a foundation for a healthy life. However, during the COVID-19 pandemic, many people avoided seeking healthcare, adversely affecting population health. We investigated the factors associated with the avoidance of healthcare for Australian young people when they reported that they needed healthcare. We were able to compare healthcare avoidance during the COVID-19 pandemic with healthcare avoidance prior to COVID-19. Methods: We used two recent data collection waves from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC)—Wave 9C1 during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, and Wave 8 data which were collected in 2018. The primary outcome of this study revealed the avoidance of healthcare among those who perceived the need for care. Bivariate analyses and multiple logistic regression models were employed to identify the factors associated with the avoidance of healthcare during the COVID-19 and pre-COVID-19 periods. Results: In the sample of 1110 young people, 39.6% avoided healthcare during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic even though they perceived that they had a health problem that required healthcare. This healthcare avoidance was similar to the healthcare avoidance in the pre-COVID-19 pandemic period (41.4%). The factors most strongly associated with healthcare avoidance during the COVID-19 pandemic were female gender, an ongoing medical condition, and moderately high psychological distress. In comparison, prior to the pandemic, the factor associated with healthcare avoidance was only psychological distress. The most common reason for not seeking healthcare was thinking that the problem would spontaneously resolve itself (55.9% during COVID-19 vs. 35.7% pre-COVID-19 pandemic). Conclusions: A large proportion of youths avoided healthcare when they felt they needed to seek care, both during and before the COVID-19 pandemic. Full article
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11 pages, 270 KiB  
Article
Factors Associated with Length of Hospital Stay among COVID-19 Patients in Saudi Arabia: A Retrospective Study during the First Pandemic Wave
by Abdullah K. Alahmari, Ziyad S. Almalki, Ahmed A. Albassam, Mohammed M. Alsultan, Ahmed M. Alshehri, Nehad J. Ahmed and Abdulhadi M. Alqahtani
Healthcare 2022, 10(7), 1201; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare10071201 - 27 Jun 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2019
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic severely affected healthcare systems and tested their preparedness. To date, the length of hospital stay (LoHS) and its factors among COVID-19 patients has not been thoroughly studied. Moreover, it is essential to identify the features of these patients. Adult COVID-19 [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic severely affected healthcare systems and tested their preparedness. To date, the length of hospital stay (LoHS) and its factors among COVID-19 patients has not been thoroughly studied. Moreover, it is essential to identify the features of these patients. Adult COVID-19 patients in Saudi Arabia with complete electronic medical records and who were hospitalised for >1 day between 1 May 2020 and 30 July 2020 at one of two hospitals were considered for this retrospective cohort study. Descriptive statistics and multivariate generalized linear models were performed using the data. Of the patients, 34% were ≥50 years old and 80.14% were female. More than 70% had mild-to-moderate symptoms; 45% had either diabetes or hypertension. The median LoHS was 7.00 days (IQR: 3–11). Patients who were females, had either critical or severe disease, were on mechanical ventilation, had diabetes, and administered ceftriaxone had significantly longer LoHS (p < 0.05). Patients administered zinc sulphate had significantly shorter LoHS (p = 0.0008). During the first pandemic wave, COVID-19 patients were hospitalised for 7 days. Healthcare professionals should pay more attention to women, patients with diabetes, and those with severe or critical symptoms. Unnecessary use of ceftriaxone should be minimised, and zinc sulphate can be administered. Full article
13 pages, 1154 KiB  
Article
COVID-19-Related Mortality amongst Physicians in Italy: Trend Pre- and Post-SARS-CoV-2 Vaccination Campaign
by Alberto Modenese, Tom Loney and Fabriziomaria Gobba
Healthcare 2022, 10(7), 1187; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare10071187 - 24 Jun 2022
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1924
Abstract
Globally, there has been a high burden of COVID-19-related mortality amongst physicians and other healthcare workers during the ongoing SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. Fortunately, anti-COVID-19 vaccination campaigns have helped to protect frontline workers and reduce COVID-19-related mortality amongst this occupational group. We analyzed COVID-19-related mortality [...] Read more.
Globally, there has been a high burden of COVID-19-related mortality amongst physicians and other healthcare workers during the ongoing SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. Fortunately, anti-COVID-19 vaccination campaigns have helped to protect frontline workers and reduce COVID-19-related mortality amongst this occupational group. We analyzed COVID-19-related mortality data for doctors in Italy and compared the crude mortality rate between March–May 2020 (i.e., the beginning of the pandemic in Italy, with the highest rates of COVID-19-related deaths) and the same time period in March–May 2021 (high vaccination coverage amongst Italian physicians). The mortality rate was 12 times higher in March–May 2020 compared to the same time period after the start of the Italian vaccination campaign. Moreover, there was a strong inverse correlation between the number of deaths and the cumulative number of vaccine doses administered in the Italian population. Although non-pharmaceutical interventions, virus evolution and environmental factors probably had an effect, our analysis clearly supports the hypothesis that the vaccination campaign helped to protect Italian physicians and reduce COVID-19-related mortality. The latest available death trends from September to October 2021 for both physicians and the general population are also in favor of the need for the third vaccine dose, currently underway for the majority of the population at risk. Full article
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13 pages, 883 KiB  
Article
Healthcare Providers’ Satisfaction with Implementation of Telemedicine in Ambulatory Care during COVID-19
by Arwa Althumairi, Alaa Fathi AlHabib, Arwa Alumran and Zahraa Alakrawi
Healthcare 2022, 10(7), 1169; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare10071169 - 22 Jun 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2048
Abstract
Introduction: Telemedicine has become a critical aspect of healthcare provision during the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19). However, healthcare providers’ utilization of and satisfaction with telemedicine technologies could have a significant impact on the quality of care provided to patients during COVID-19. The current study [...] Read more.
Introduction: Telemedicine has become a critical aspect of healthcare provision during the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19). However, healthcare providers’ utilization of and satisfaction with telemedicine technologies could have a significant impact on the quality of care provided to patients during COVID-19. The current study explores the key factors that could affect healthcare providers’ satisfaction with telemedicine in ambulatory care during the pandemic. Objectives: This research study aims at identifying the factors that could influence the healthcare providers’ satisfaction level with the use of telemedicine in ambulatory care services in Saudi Arabia during COVID 19. Methods: This is a descriptive quantitative cross-sectional study. The research team has utilized the Service Quality Model (SERVQUAL) to assess the healthcare providers’ satisfaction with telemedicine in ambulatory care through a questionnaire that was adapted from previous studies. This questionnaire includes the following dimensions: tangibility, reliability, responsiveness, assurance, and empathy. It was distributed to all ambulatory care physicians in a public hospital-based ambulatory health center in Eastern Region, Saudi Arabia. Results: The study findings showed that Saudis are significantly more satisfied with telemedicine compared to non-Saudis. Age, gender, experience, medical specialty, and computer literacy skills were not found to have any significant effects on the level of the provider’s satisfaction. Conclusion: This research provides new insight and understanding of the relationship between the frequent use of the health information system and the level of physician satisfaction. This major finding puts more emphasis on the importance of education and training when it comes to the adoption of telemedicine through the frequent use of health information systems and applications. These encouraging findings provide a vital piece of information for healthcare organizations interested in a further adoption of telemedicinal practices and applications. Full article
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8 pages, 535 KiB  
Article
Survey on Anxiety and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Intensive Care Personnel during the COVID-19 Pandemic in a Medically Under-Resourced Country
by Alexandra Elena Lazar, Janos Szederjesi, Oana Coman, Andrea Elekes, Mariana Suciaghi and Bianca Liana Grigorescu
Healthcare 2022, 10(7), 1160; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare10071160 - 22 Jun 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1541
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the need for intensive care personnel. Romania has a low number of physicians per inhabitant. The stress of pandemics upon an already weak medical health system triggered some psychological effects upon burnt-out personnel. The main objective is to [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the need for intensive care personnel. Romania has a low number of physicians per inhabitant. The stress of pandemics upon an already weak medical health system triggered some psychological effects upon burnt-out personnel. The main objective is to provide an insight into the psychological status of Romanian ICU personnel by evaluating their level of anxiety. The secondary objectives aim to identify the level of post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety in different groups and to identify the personnel most affected psychologically. This study enrolled adult responders from the ICU of Târgu Mureș Emergency Clinical County Hospital, Romania, participating voluntarily. The evaluation tests were the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory and Post-Traumatic Stress Test. Out of the 126 eligible participants, 87 adult employees were enrolled—with a 69% response rate. The study comprised three groups: doctors, nurses, and auxiliary personnel. All three groups scored for moderate anxiety symptoms. COVID-19-related anxiety was strongly correlated with age and number of working years in all groups. Increased PTSD scores were observed in doctors and nurses. All ICU personnel who dealt with COVID-19 patients presented with moderate anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms. The years of ICU experience had a positive impact on anxiety symptoms. Full article
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10 pages, 263 KiB  
Article
Factors Contributing to Burnout among Healthcare Workers during COVID-19 in Sabah (East Malaysia)
by Nicholas Tze Ping Pang, Noor Melissa Nor Hadi, Mohd Iqbal Mohaini, Assis Kamu, Chong Mun Ho, Eugene Boon Yau Koh, Jiann Lin Loo, Debbie Quah Lye Theng and Walton Wider
Healthcare 2022, 10(6), 1068; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare10061068 - 09 Jun 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2558
Abstract
The third wave of COVID-19 in Malaysia has significantly strained the healthcare system of the country and increased the level of burnout among the healthcare workers (HCWs) in the country. Therefore, this study aimed to identify the various factors associated with burnout among [...] Read more.
The third wave of COVID-19 in Malaysia has significantly strained the healthcare system of the country and increased the level of burnout among the healthcare workers (HCWs) in the country. Therefore, this study aimed to identify the various factors associated with burnout among HCWs. A cross-sectional study was conducted among 150 HWCs in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia. An online survey was administered using the Copenhagen Burnout Inventory, Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support, Brief COPE, and Fear of COVID-19 scales. Pearson correlations were assessed amongst all variables. Subsequently, a multiple linear regression analysis was performed using burnout dimensions as dependent variables. Multiple linear regression results showed: (a) lower work-related burnout (β = −0.217, p < 0.01) among married HCWs; (b) higher personal-related burnout (β = 0.228, p < 0.01), work-related burnout (β = 0.425, p < 0.01), and client-related burnout (β = 0.359, p < 0.01) among doctors; (c) fear towards COVID-19 was significantly associated with client-related burnout (β = 0.243, p < 0.01); (d) an avoidant coping strategy was significantly associated with personal-related burnout (β = 0.322, p < 0.01); (e) social support from family was significantly associated with personal-related burnout (β = −0.264, p < 0.01), work-related burnout (β = −0.186, p < 0.05), and client-related burnout (β = −0.326, p < 0.01);(f) and social support from friends was significantly associated with work-related burnout (β = −0.202, p < 0.05). This study demonstrated significant theoretical contributions and clinical implications in the healthcare system in Sabah by addressing the impact of various factors on burnout among HWCs. Full article
14 pages, 1303 KiB  
Article
Decision Conflicts in Clinical Care during COVID-19: A Patient Perspective
by Jörg Haier, Johannes Beller, Kristina Adorjan, Stefan Bleich, Moritz De Greck, Frank Griesinger, Alexander Hein, René Hurlemann, Sören Torge Mees, Alexandra Philipsen, Gernot Rohde, Georgia Schilling, Karolin Trautmann, Stephanie E. Combs, Siegfried Geyer and Jürgen Schäfers
Healthcare 2022, 10(6), 1019; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare10061019 - 31 May 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1800
Abstract
(1) Background: Uncertainty is typical for a pandemic or similar healthcare crisis. This affects patients with resulting decisional conflicts and disturbed shared decision making during their treatment occurring to a very different extent. Sociodemographic factors and the individual perception of pandemic-related problems likely [...] Read more.
(1) Background: Uncertainty is typical for a pandemic or similar healthcare crisis. This affects patients with resulting decisional conflicts and disturbed shared decision making during their treatment occurring to a very different extent. Sociodemographic factors and the individual perception of pandemic-related problems likely determine this decisional dilemma for patients and can characterize vulnerable groups with special susceptibility for decisional problems and related consequences. (2) Methods: Cross-sectional data from the OnCoVID questionnaire study were used involving 540 patients from 11 participating institutions covering all major regions in Germany. Participants were actively involved in clinical treatment in oncology or psychiatry during the COVID-19 pandemic. Questionnaires covered five decision dimensions (conflicts and uncertainty, resources, risk perception, perception of consequences for clinical processes, perception of consequences for patients) and very basic demographic data (age, gender, stage of treatment and educational background). Decision uncertainties and distress were operationalized using equidistant five-point scales. Data analysis was performed using descriptive and various multivariate approaches. (3) Results: A total of 11.5% of all patients described intensive uncertainty in their clinical decisions that was significantly correlated with anxiety, depression, loneliness and stress. Younger and female patients and those of higher educational status and treatment stage had the highest values for these stressors (p < 0.001). Only 15.3% of the patients (14.9% oncology, 16.2% psychiatry; p = 0.021) considered the additional risk of COVID-19 infections as very important for their disease-related decisions. Regression analysis identified determinants for patients at risk of a decisional dilemma, including information availability, educational level, age group and requirement of treatment decision making. (4) Conclusions: In patients, the COVID-19 pandemic induced specific decisional uncertainty and distress accompanied by intensified stress and psychological disturbances. Determinants of specific vulnerability were related to female sex, younger age, education level, disease stages and perception of pandemic-related treatment modifications, whereas availability of sufficient pandemic-related information prevented these problems. The most important decisional criteria for patients under these conditions were expected side effects/complications and treatment responses. Full article
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16 pages, 1004 KiB  
Article
COVID-19 Pandemic-Revealed Consistencies and Inconsistencies in Healthcare: A Medical and Organizational View
by Diana Araja, Uldis Berkis and Modra Murovska
Healthcare 2022, 10(6), 1018; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare10061018 - 31 May 2022
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2206
Abstract
The circumstances of the Coronavirus disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus (COVID-19) pandemic have had a significant impact on global and national developments, affecting the existence of society in all its expressions, as well as the lives of people themselves. In the context [...] Read more.
The circumstances of the Coronavirus disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus (COVID-19) pandemic have had a significant impact on global and national developments, affecting the existence of society in all its expressions, as well as the lives of people themselves. In the context of the pandemic, increased attention has been focused on acute measures, but the ending of the pandemic is expected as a resolution of the related healthcare problems. However, there are several indicators that the COVID-19 pandemic might induce long-term consequences for individual and public health. Some of the consequences are inferred and predictable, but there are also areas of medicine that have been indirectly affected by the pandemic, and these consequences have not yet been sufficiently explored. This study is focused on drawing attention to some of the COVID-19 pandemic consistencies and the pandemic-revealed inconsistencies in healthcare. Content analysis and statistical analysis were applied to achieve the aim of the study. The main findings of the study address chronic disease burden (particularly, myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS)), healthcare governance and organizational issues, and the synergy between health policy perspectives and innovative solutions in practice. The study provides insight into the particular healthcare issues affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, such as the increase in mortality in some diagnoses besides COVID-19 and the possible emergence of a new type of resistance—vaccine-resistance—contemporaneously supporting the identification of the tendencies and currently unnoticed indirect consistencies and inconsistencies revealed by the pandemic. Full article
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8 pages, 597 KiB  
Brief Report
High Incidence Rate of SARS-CoV-2 Infection in Health Care Workers at a Dedicated COVID-19 Hospital: Experiences of the Pandemic from a Large Mexican Hospital
by Nallely Bueno-Hernández, José Damian Carrillo-Ruíz, Lucía A. Méndez-García, Salma A. Rizo-Téllez, Rebeca Viurcos-Sanabria, Alisson Santoyo-Chávez, René Márquez-Franco, Alejandro Aguado-García, Neyla Baltazar-López, Yoshio Tomita-Cruz, Eira Valeria Barrón, Ana Laura Sánchez, Edna Márquez, Ruben Fossion, Ana Leonor Rivera, Luis Ruelas, Octavio A. Lecona, Gustavo Martínez-Mekler, Markus Müller, América G. Arroyo-Valerio and Galileo Escobedoadd Show full author list remove Hide full author list
Healthcare 2022, 10(5), 896; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare10050896 - 12 May 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1638
Abstract
Health care workers (HCW) are at high risk of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection. The incidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection in HCW has been examined in cross-sectional studies by quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) tests, which may lead to underestimating exact [...] Read more.
Health care workers (HCW) are at high risk of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection. The incidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection in HCW has been examined in cross-sectional studies by quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) tests, which may lead to underestimating exact incidence rates. We thus investigated the incidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection in a group of HCW at a dedicated coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) hospital in a six-month follow-up period. We conducted a prospective cohort study on 109 participants of both sexes working in areas of high, moderate, and low SARS-CoV-2 exposure. qPCR tests in nasopharyngeal swabs and anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG serum antibodies were assessed at the beginning and six months later. Demographic, clinical, and laboratory parameters were analyzed according to IgG seropositivity by paired Student’s T-test or the chi-square test. The incidence rate of SARS-CoV-2 infection was considerably high in our cohort of HCW (58%), among whom 67% were asymptomatic carriers. No baseline risk factors contributed to the infection rate, including the workplace. It is still necessary to increase hospital safety procedures to prevent virus transmissibility from HCW to relatives and non-COVID-19 patients during the upcoming waves of contagion. Full article
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8 pages, 573 KiB  
Article
Reduction in Hospital Admissions for Cardiovascular Diseases (CVDs) during the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Pandemic: A Retrospective Study from a Southern Italian Region in the Year 2020
by Fabrizio Cedrone, Giuseppe Di Martino, Pamela Di Giovanni, Emilio Greco, Edoardo Trebbi, Ferdinando Romano and Tommaso Staniscia
Healthcare 2022, 10(5), 871; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare10050871 - 09 May 2022
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 1915
Abstract
(1) Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has indirect consequences for healthcare for other diseases, known as collateral damage. This situation heavily affects healthcare systems, causing changes in patterns of hospital admission. During the peak of the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic, numerous studies reported a [...] Read more.
(1) Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has indirect consequences for healthcare for other diseases, known as collateral damage. This situation heavily affects healthcare systems, causing changes in patterns of hospital admission. During the peak of the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic, numerous studies reported a reduction in admissions for acute coronary syndrome. The aim of this study was to evaluate the incidence of admissions for cardiovascular diseases in Abruzzo, a region of Southern Italy, in the year 2020 and compare it to the two previous years (2018–2019). (2) Methods: This retrospective study was conducted in Abruzzo, Italy. The monthly number of admissions in the year 2020 was compared to a control period made from the average number of events that occurred in the previous two years (2018–2019). (3) Results: A global reduction in hospital admissions for all the cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) considered was observed. In particular, compared to the control period, in 2020, the number of admissions for ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) was lower by 34 (hospitalization rate ratio, HRR, 0.93; p < 0.001), the number of non-ST-segment-elevation myocardial infarctions (N-STEMI) was lower by 154.5 (HRR 0.89; p < 0.001), the number for acute coronary syndrome (ACS) was 340 lower (HRR 0.90; p < 0.001) and the number for heart failure (HF) was 1424.5 lower than during the control period (HRR 0.73; p < 0.001). (4) Conclusions: The results of this study show the impact of COVID-19 on admissions for CVDs, suggesting the need for strategic measures to overcome the burden of hospitalizations in future years. Full article
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17 pages, 587 KiB  
Article
Wellbeing and Stress Coping among Healthcare and Pharmacy Workers: Experiences during the First COVID-19 Lockdown in Lithuania
by Kastytis Šmigelskas, Laura Digrytė-Šertvytienė, Gita Argustaitė-Zailskienė, Aušra Griciūtė, Gabrielė Urbonaitė, Irina Banienė, Aurima Stankūnienė and Nida Žemaitienė
Healthcare 2022, 10(5), 787; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare10050787 - 23 Apr 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2221
Abstract
(1) Background. During the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare professionals faced psychological and social challenges in addition to a sharp increase in workload. The aim of this work was to reveal how healthcare and pharmacy workers assessed their wellbeing and the methods of coping they [...] Read more.
(1) Background. During the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare professionals faced psychological and social challenges in addition to a sharp increase in workload. The aim of this work was to reveal how healthcare and pharmacy workers assessed their wellbeing and the methods of coping they employed to overcome stress during quarantine. (2) Methods. The mixed-method study was conducted between August and October 2020, integrating quantitative (n = 967) and qualitative (n = 27) strategies. Doctors, nurses, healthcare administrative staff, pharmacy specialists, and other employees of the healthcare system were interviewed retrospectively about their experiences during and following lockdown (March–June 2020). (3) Results. Overall, 38.7% of the respondents reported a decrease in psychological wellbeing, while 23.4% of the respondents reported a decrease in physical wellbeing during quarantine. The healthcare professionals’ narratives identified a shift from nonspecific fears at the beginning of the pandemic to the more concrete fear of contracting COVID-19, of infecting others, and about their loved ones, as well as undifferentiated fear. Multivariate analysis revealed that a subjective decrease in wellbeing was typical in professionals who had had direct contact with patients infected with COVID-19, as well as those with stronger fears, and those who were more likely to employ compulsive distancing and substance use as ways to cope with stress. (3) Conclusions. The results suggest that lockdown had a negative impact on healthcare workers’ wellbeing during the first pandemic wave in 2020. Full article
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10 pages, 1115 KiB  
Article
COVID-19 Pandemic Impact on Surgical Treatment Methods for Early-Stage Cervical Cancer: A Population-Based Study in Romania
by Alin Popescu, Marius Craina, Stelian Pantea, Catalin Pirvu, Daniela Radu, Iosif Marincu, Felix Bratosin, Iulia Bogdan, Samer Hosin, Cosmin Citu, Elena Bernad, Radu Neamtu, Catalin Dumitru, Adelina Geanina Mocanu and Adrian Gluhovschi
Healthcare 2022, 10(4), 639; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare10040639 - 28 Mar 2022
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1929
Abstract
Being one of the most common malignancies in young women, cervical cancer is frequently successfully screened around the world. Early detection enables for an important number of curative options that allow for more than 90% of patients to survive more than three years [...] Read more.
Being one of the most common malignancies in young women, cervical cancer is frequently successfully screened around the world. Early detection enables for an important number of curative options that allow for more than 90% of patients to survive more than three years without cancer relapse. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic put tremendous pressure on healthcare systems and access to cancer care, determining us to develop a study on the influence the pandemic had on surgical care of cervical cancer, and to assess changes in its management and outcomes. A retrospective study design allowed us to compare cervical cancer trends of the last 48 months of the pre-pandemic period with the first 24 months during the COVID-19 pandemic, using the database from the Timis County Emergency Clinical Hospital. New cases of cervical cancer presented to our clinic in more advanced stages (34.6% cases of FIGO stage III during the pandemic vs. 22.4% before the pandemic, p-value = 0.047). These patients faced significantly more changes in treatment plans, postponed surgeries, and postponed radio-chemotherapy treatment. From the full cohort of cervical cancer patients, 160 were early stages eligible for curative intervention who completed a three-year follow-up period. The disease-free survival and overall survival were not influenced by the surgical treatment of choice, or by the SARS-CoV-2 infection (log-rank p-value = 0.449, respectively log-rank p-value = 0.608). The individual risk factors identified for the three-year mortality risk were independent of the SARS-CoV-2 infection and treatment changes during the COVID-19 pandemic. We observed significantly fewer cases of cervical cancer diagnosed per year during the first 24 months of the COVID-19 pandemic, blaming the changes in healthcare system regulations that failed to offer the same conditions as before the pandemic. Even though we did not observe significant changes in disease-free survival of early-stage cervical cancers, we expect the excess of cases diagnosed in later stages to have lower survival rates, imposing the healthcare systems to consider different strategies for these patients while the pandemic is still ongoing. Full article
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10 pages, 866 KiB  
Article
Behavioral and Disease-Related Characteristics of Patients with Acute Stroke during the Coronavirus Disease Pandemic
by Dougho Park, Eunhwan Jeong, Su Yun Lee, Mansu Kim, Dae Young Hong, Heum Dai Kwon and Mun-Chul Kim
Healthcare 2022, 10(4), 604; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare10040604 - 23 Mar 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1659
Abstract
This study aimed to evaluate the behavioral and disease-related characteristics of patients with acute stroke during the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. This retrospective study was conducted using the Korean Stroke Registry database from a single cerebrovascular specialty hospital. We categorized the COVID-19 pandemic [...] Read more.
This study aimed to evaluate the behavioral and disease-related characteristics of patients with acute stroke during the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. This retrospective study was conducted using the Korean Stroke Registry database from a single cerebrovascular specialty hospital. We categorized the COVID-19 pandemic (February 2020 to June 2021) into three waves according to the number of COVID-19 cases recorded and the subjective fear index of the general population and matched them with the corresponding pre-COVID-19 (January 2019 to January 2020) periods. The total number of acute stroke hospitalizations during the pre-COVID-19 and COVID-19 periods was 402 and 379, respectively. The number of acute stroke hospitalizations recorded during the regional outbreak of COVID-19 was higher than that recorded during the corresponding pre-COVID-19 period (97 vs. 80). Length of hospital stay was significantly longer during the COVID-19 pandemic than during the pre-COVID-19 period (11.1 and 8.5 days, respectively; p = 0.003). There were no significant differences in the time from onset to hospital arrival, rate of acute intravenous/intra-arterial (IV/IA) treatments, and door-to-IV/IA times between the pre-COVID-19 and COVID-19 periods. This study suggests that specialty hospitals can effectively maintain the quality of healthcare through the management of acute time-dependent diseases, even during pandemics. Full article
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17 pages, 2665 KiB  
Article
How Did the Pandemic Affect Communication in Clinical Settings? A Qualitative Study with Critical and Emergency Care Nurses
by José Luis Díaz-Agea, Irene Orcajada-Muñoz, César Leal-Costa, Maria Gracia Adánez-Martínez, Adriana Catarina De Souza Oliveira and Andrés Rojo-Rojo
Healthcare 2022, 10(2), 373; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare10020373 - 14 Feb 2022
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 4967
Abstract
The objective of the present study was to determine the subjective impact of the pandemic due to COVID-19 on communication, as perceived by nurses working at emergency services and Intensive Care Units at various hospitals in the Region of Murcia (Spain). A qualitative [...] Read more.
The objective of the present study was to determine the subjective impact of the pandemic due to COVID-19 on communication, as perceived by nurses working at emergency services and Intensive Care Units at various hospitals in the Region of Murcia (Spain). A qualitative study was conducted based on the content analysis of 12 semi-structured individual interviews. The participant recruitment process was performed through a snowball sampling technique. Four main dimensions, eleven categories, and two sub-categories were obtained: (1) communication (communicative expressions, both verbal and non-verbal-, and limitations); (2) emotional aspects (positive, negative); (3) overload (first wave, second wave, and third wave); and (4) relationships (health professionals–patients, healthcare professionals, patients–family, and family–health professionals). The main findings of the study show that communication was slightly affected during the pandemic, especially the non-verbal kind, with verbal communication maintained and, in some occasions, strengthened. The lack of training in communication skills and its influence on the management of difficult periods was another important finding. Communication in general deteriorated during the pandemic, especially during the initial waves. Non-verbal communication was more affected due to the use of Personal Protective Equipment and the initial fear of infection, with this finding strongly observed in departments such as emergencies or critical care. The nurses who were interviewed underlined negative emotional aspects associated with a deficit in communication. The positive aspects described were associated with the creation of mutual support spaces and the group cohesion of the work teams during the pandemic. As an implication for current and future clinical practice, we recommend a coordinated institutional response to mitigate the potential emotional effects on workers by designing appropriate communication and emotional expression protocols. Full article
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15 pages, 288 KiB  
Article
Anxiety Levels among Polish and Turkish Dentists during the COVID-19 Pandemic
by Iwona Olszewska-Czyz and Sarkis Sozkes
Healthcare 2022, 10(2), 357; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare10020357 - 11 Feb 2022
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1476
Abstract
Working conditions, work-related stressors and high risk of infection, as well as the fear of contagion and spreading the disease to family members, may have influenced dentists’ mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. The aim of this study was to evaluate the anxiety [...] Read more.
Working conditions, work-related stressors and high risk of infection, as well as the fear of contagion and spreading the disease to family members, may have influenced dentists’ mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. The aim of this study was to evaluate the anxiety levels among Polish and Turkish dentists during the COVID-19 pandemic and to investigate any relevant predictors. The study was an anonymous online questionnaire-based cross-sectional study that was conducted among dentists from two countries: Poland and Turkey. In total 400 dentists (200 from each country) participated in the study. The survey consisted of two parts: part 1 comprised demographic data, including age, gender, country of origin, COVID-19 infection history, place of work and lockdown history; part 2 was based on the State–Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI). The mean trait and state anxiety levels of the Polish dentists was statistically significantly lower than that of the Turkish dentists (p = 0.000; p < 0.05). However, Polish dentists had higher state anxiety levels than trait levels, while both types of anxiety among Turkish dentists were almost at the same level. The number of dentists who suffered from COVID-19 was found to be statistically significantly higher in Poland (54%) than in Turkey (16%) (p = 0.000; p < 0.05). The percentage of dentists reporting anxiety was 51% in Poland and 95.5% in Turkey. Polish dentists reported a lower mean anxiety level during the COVID-19 pandemic than the dentists in Turkey but their anxiety levels were more affected by the COVID-19 pandemic as they had a higher difference between their state and trait anxiety levels. The higher coronavirus infection rate and lack of governmental lockdowns of dental practices during the pandemic in Poland compared with those in Turkey may explain the difference in the state and trait anxiety levels. Full article
13 pages, 239 KiB  
Article
Experiences of Dutch Midwives Regarding the Quality of Care during the COVID-19 Pandemic
by Roos Hijdra, Wim Rutten and Jessica Gubbels
Healthcare 2022, 10(2), 304; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare10020304 - 05 Feb 2022
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1842
Abstract
This study assessed how the quality of care during the COVID-19 pandemic has been experienced by Dutch midwives. At the beginning of May 2020, 15 Dutch midwives were interviewed during the first wave of the pandemic. The interviews included questions based on the [...] Read more.
This study assessed how the quality of care during the COVID-19 pandemic has been experienced by Dutch midwives. At the beginning of May 2020, 15 Dutch midwives were interviewed during the first wave of the pandemic. The interviews included questions based on the value-based healthcare framework by Porter. The interviews were transcribed verbatim, coded, and analyzed according to recurrent themes using the directed content analysis approach. Key themes identified included high quality midwifery care, information provision, costs, under/over treatment, interprofessional collaboration, and shared decision making. The quality of midwifery care during the COVID-19 pandemic was experienced to be sufficient, given the challenging circumstances. The midwives experienced the lack of face-to-face check-ups to be problematic. Unclear information and lack of personal protective equipment caused stress and confusion, and they worked an additional 2–4 h per working day. Some pregnant women were hesitant to call or visit them when they thought something was wrong. The midwives perceived some advantages in using video or telephone calls. Considerations for future pandemics include an additional face-to-face check-up between 16 and 27 weeks of pregnancy and one postpartum visit. For post-pandemic care, providing a check-up through telephone or video call could be offered in certain cases. Full article
19 pages, 5401 KiB  
Article
Risk of Dehydration Due to Sweating While Wearing Personal 2 Protective Equipment in COVID-19 Clinical Care: A Pilot Study
by Andrés Rojo-Rojo, Maria José Pujalte-Jesús, Encarna Hernández-Sánchez, Rafael Melendreras-Ruiz, Juan Antonio García-Méndez, Gloria María Muñoz-Rubio, César Leal-Costa and José Luis Díaz-Agea
Healthcare 2022, 10(2), 267; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare10020267 - 29 Jan 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2878
Abstract
Objective: The objectives of this study were (a) to determine the physical impact of the personal protective equipment (PPE) used in COVID-19 care, specifically the impact on the hydration state of the temperature and the comfort of the healthcare workers who use it, [...] Read more.
Objective: The objectives of this study were (a) to determine the physical impact of the personal protective equipment (PPE) used in COVID-19 care, specifically the impact on the hydration state of the temperature and the comfort of the healthcare workers who use it, and (b) to show the high-fidelity simulated environment as an appropriate place to test the experimental designs to be developed in real environments for COVID-19. Background: All healthcare staff use full PPE in the care of COVID-19 patients. There are problems, such as excessive sweating, which have not been quantified thus far. Methods: A descriptive pilot design was used in a simulated high-fidelity setting. There was paired activity, with mild–moderate physical activity, between 45 and 60 min continuously, with the COVID-19 PPE. Sixteen intensive care nurses were selected. The before–after differential of weight, thirst, weight use of the PPE, body temperature, thermal body image, general and facial warmth sensation, and perspiration sensation were measured. Results: All subjects lost weight in the form of sweat with both PPEs during the simulation scenario, with a mean of 200 g (0.28% of initial weight), and increased thirst sensation. Body thermal image increased by 0.54 °C in people using the full COVID-19 PPE. Conclusions: The use of PPE in the management of critically ill COVID-19 patients generates weight loss related to excessive sweating. The weight loss shown in this pilot test is far from the clinical limits of dehydration. The use of ventilated PPE, such as PAPR, reduce the body temperature and heat sensation experienced by the users of it; at the same time, it improves the comfort of those who wear it. The simulated environment is a suitable place to develop the piloting of applicable research methodologies in future studies in a real environment. Full article
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11 pages, 1084 KiB  
Article
Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Colorectal and Prostate Cancer Screening in a Large U.S. Health System
by Amar H. Kelkar, Jing Zhao, Shu Wang and Christopher R. Cogle
Healthcare 2022, 10(2), 264; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare10020264 - 29 Jan 2022
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 3442
Abstract
During the first year of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, prevention measures included quarantining and facility closures. Because cancer screening is dependent on interventions in facilities, the extent of the COVID-19 impact on screening was questioned. A claims registry from a large [...] Read more.
During the first year of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, prevention measures included quarantining and facility closures. Because cancer screening is dependent on interventions in facilities, the extent of the COVID-19 impact on screening was questioned. A claims registry from a large health system was queried for colorectal and prostate cancer screening. A screening gap and screening loss ratio were calculated by comparing 2020 screening to historical reference years. All cancer screenings decreased in the first four months of the pandemic. Colorectal cancer screening returned to baseline in the latter six months of 2020. Prostate cancer screening exceeded baseline in the latter six months, but with a lesser gain than previous years. Populations disproportionately affected by decreased cancer screening included men and black people. To catch-up after the initial deficit in screening, it is estimated that the rate of colorectal cancer screening needs to increase by 50%. Full article
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12 pages, 4442 KiB  
Article
Information Flow and Data Gaps in COVID-19 Recording and Reporting at National and Provincial Levels in Indonesia
by Diana Barsasella, Arief Tarmansyah Iman, Fery Fadly, Mohy Uddin, Arshad Mohammed, Tazeem Shaik, Hermawan Saputra, Shwetambara Malwade, Eshita Dhar, Zakiah, Nurhadi, Jitendra Jonnagaddala and Shabbir Syed-Abdul
Healthcare 2022, 10(2), 204; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare10020204 - 20 Jan 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 4213
Abstract
Epidemiological surveillance is an essential component of public health practice especially during infectious disease outbreaks. It is critical to offer transparent epidemiological information in a rigorous manner at different regional levels in countries for managing the outbreak situations. The objectives of this research [...] Read more.
Epidemiological surveillance is an essential component of public health practice especially during infectious disease outbreaks. It is critical to offer transparent epidemiological information in a rigorous manner at different regional levels in countries for managing the outbreak situations. The objectives of this research are to better understand the information flow of COVID-19 health monitoring systems and to determine the data gaps of COVID-19 incidence at the national and provincial levels in Indonesia. COVID-19 information flow was researched using government websites at the national and various provincial levels. To find the disparities, we assessed the number of cases reported at both levels at the same time and displayed the absolute and relative differences. The findings revealed that out of a total of 34 provinces in Indonesia, data differences were seen in 25 (73.52%) provinces in terms of positive cases, 31 (91.18%) provinces in terms of cured cases, and 28 (82.35%) provinces of the number of deaths. Our results showed a pressing need for high-quality, transparent, and timely information. The integration of COVID-19 data in Indonesia has not been optimal, implying that the reported COVID-19 incidence rate may be biased or delayed. COVID-19 incidents must be better monitored to disrupt the disease’s transmission chain. Full article
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2021

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9 pages, 687 KiB  
Article
Trends in COVID-19 Health Disparities in North Carolina: Preparing the Field for Long-Haul Patients
by Thais Muratori Holanda, Claudia Alberico, Leslimar Rios-Colon, Elena Arthur and Deepak Kumar
Healthcare 2021, 9(12), 1704; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare9121704 - 08 Dec 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2821
Abstract
Long-term coronavirus disease 2019 (long-COVID) refers to persistent symptoms of SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) lingering beyond four weeks of initial infection. Approximately 30% of COVID-19 survivors develop prolonged symptoms. Communities of color are disproportionately affected by comorbidities, increasing the risk of severe COVID-19 and potentially [...] Read more.
Long-term coronavirus disease 2019 (long-COVID) refers to persistent symptoms of SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) lingering beyond four weeks of initial infection. Approximately 30% of COVID-19 survivors develop prolonged symptoms. Communities of color are disproportionately affected by comorbidities, increasing the risk of severe COVID-19 and potentially leading to long-COVID. This study aims to identify trends in health disparities related to COVID-19 cases, which can help unveil potential populations at risk for long-COVID. All North Carolina (NC) counties (n = 100) were selected as a case study. Cases and vaccinations per 1000 population were calculated based on the NC Department of Health and Human Services COVID-19 dashboard with reports current as of 8 October 2021, which were stratified by age groups and race/ethnicity. Then, NC COVID-19 cases were correlated to median household income, poverty, population density, and social vulnerability index themes. We observed a negative correlation between cases (p < 0.05) and deaths (p < 0.01) with both income and vaccination status. Moreover, there was a significant positive association between vaccination status and median household income (p < 0.01). Our results highlight the prevailing trend between exacerbated COVID-19 infection and low-income/under-resourced communities. Consequently, efforts and resources should be channeled to these communities to effectively monitor, diagnose, and treat against COVID-19 and potentially prevent an overwhelming number of long-COVID cases. Full article
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15 pages, 478 KiB  
Article
Micropulse Transscleral Cyclophotocoagulation as Primary Surgical Treatment for Primary Open Angle Glaucoma in Taiwan during the COVID-19 Pandemic
by Hsiao-Ling Chang, Shih-Chun Chao, Ming-Tsung Lee and Hung-Yu Lin
Healthcare 2021, 9(11), 1563; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare9111563 - 17 Nov 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1752
Abstract
Glaucoma is the leading cause of irreversible blindness worldwide, with primary open angle glaucoma (POAG) accounting for the greatest number of total glaucoma cases. This study aimed to evaluate the efficacy and safety of micropulse transscleral cyclophotocoagulation (MP-TSCPC) as a primary procedure in [...] Read more.
Glaucoma is the leading cause of irreversible blindness worldwide, with primary open angle glaucoma (POAG) accounting for the greatest number of total glaucoma cases. This study aimed to evaluate the efficacy and safety of micropulse transscleral cyclophotocoagulation (MP-TSCPC) as a primary procedure in POAG during the COVID-19 pandemic. We retrospectively analyzed 60 eyes of 52 patients, who were diagnosed with mild-to-end-stage POAG without previous glaucoma surgery and received MP-TSCPC between 1 January 2020 and 31 August 2020. The mean preoperative intraocular pressure (IOP) significantly decreased from 27.8 mm Hg to 19.8, 20.1, 20.3, 20.4, and 20.2 mm Hg at 1, 3, 6, 9, and 12 months, respectively (all p < 0.05). The mean number of IOP-lowering medications used significantly decreased from 3.3 at the baseline to 1.6, 1.8, 1.8, 1.9, and 1.9 at 1, 3, 6, 9, and 12 months, respectively (all p < 0.001). Total withdrawal of antiglaucoma medications was fulfilled in five patients. The main outcome was achieved in 81.7% at postoperative month 12. The most common adverse effect was transient mydriasis (28.3%). No major complications were encountered. MP-TSCPC seems to be an effective and safe treatment to reduce IOP and the medication burden with minimal vision-threatening complications in mild-to-end-stage POAG patients without previous glaucoma surgery. Full article
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12 pages, 1361 KiB  
Article
The Use of Medical and Non-Medical Services by Older Inpatients from Emergency vs. Chronic Departments, during the SARS-CoV-2 Pandemic in Poland
by Iwona Demczyszak, Justyna Mazurek, Dominik M. Marciniak, Katarzyna Hap, Natalia Kuciel, Karolina Biernat and Edyta Sutkowska
Healthcare 2021, 9(11), 1547; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare9111547 - 12 Nov 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1215
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced numerous changes in medical care. The monitoring of current needs and problems among the elderly in health care facilities seems to be essential. This study aims to assess the difference in terms of the use of medical and [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced numerous changes in medical care. The monitoring of current needs and problems among the elderly in health care facilities seems to be essential. This study aims to assess the difference in terms of the use of medical and non-medical services before planned or emergency hospitalisation by the older population during the strict lockdown period due to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic in Poland. The study used the FIMA (Fragebogen zur Inanspruchnahme medizinischer und nicht-medizinischer Versorgungsleistungen im Alter) questionnaire. Patients admitted on a planned basis (n = 61) were on average 4 years younger, self-administered the questionnaire more frequently and used the services of different types of therapists. Patients admitted on an emergency basis (n = 60) were more likely to visit general practitioners and other specialists and used the carer’s allowance benefits. In the case of the elderly, emergency hospitalisation during the pandemic is more frequently preceded by seeking outpatient care in specialists in various fields, covered by insurance. The chronically ill use the services of various therapists while awaiting hospitalisation, usually not covered by health insurance. For both groups, the age > 73 years is critical for the use of assisting means and completing the self-administered questionnaire, which can be used in planning the health care in these patients. Full article
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