Management in Health, Vol 25, No 1 (2021)

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CARING FOR PEOPLE WITH COGNITIVE IMPAIRMENT (CI) DURING THE COVID-19PANDEMIC

Daciana TOMA, Raluca SFETCU, Daniela Georgeta POPOVICI, Mihaela Daniela BALTA

Abstract


At  SARS-CoV2 infection has produced many changes in our lives, both through the rules of physical distance and isolation imposed, and through a series of restrictions in social and cultural life. Patients with dementia or other cognitive impairment have also been affected by this pandemic, international studies documenting a decrease in the rate of face-to-face consultations by up to 65% during this period. Currently, there is a lack of information on identifying new cases of cognitive impairment during the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the management of patients previously diagnosed in family doctors' offices in Romania. In this context, the present study aimed to describe the activity of identifying new cases of cognitive impairment at the level of family doctors' offices, their referral to specialized services and the management of these patients in evidence between March and December 2020. An electronic questionnaire developed by the authors was distributed via mailing lists over five days. The questionnaire was answered by 62 family doctors, who report a small number of new cases being identified between March and December 2020, of which only half have been referred for evaluation to the specialist. Regarding patients already diagnosed with cognitive disorders, about half of the respondents managed to consult over 70% of them. The majority of the family doctors continued to provide face to face services at the office and about half of them opted for a mix of teleconsultations and face to face consultations. The results of this study indicate the increase of undiagnosed CI cases and difficulties related to the management of existing cases during the pandemic, difficulties generated primarily by the limitations of teleconsultations, poor communication with specialists and the absence of medical letters. Given the fact that family doctors have constituted the first line of healthcare service provision during the pandemic, it is all the more important to update their knowledge in the field of cognitive disorders.

 

Keywords: SARS-CoV2, COVID-19, cognitive impairment, Romania


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