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Annals of Indian Academy of Neurology
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Patients with neurological illnesses and their experience during the lockdown: A teleinterview-based study


 Department of Neurology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Rohit Bhatia,
Department of Neurology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi – 110 029
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/aian.aian_468_21

Background: Governments have imposed lockdowns in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Hospitals have restricted outpatient clinics and elective services meant for non-COVID illnesses. This has led to patients facing unprecedented challenges and uncertainties. This study was carried out to assess patients' concerns and apprehensions about the effect of the lockdown on their treatments. Materials and Methods: An ambispective, observational cross-sectional single centre study was conducted. Patients were contacted telephonically and requested to answer a structured questionnaire. Their responses were documented and summarized as frequency and proportions. Results: A total of 727 patients were interviewed. Epilepsy (32%) was the most common neurological illness in our cohort followed by stroke (18%). About half the patients and/or their caregivers reported health-related concerns during the lockdown. The primary concern was how to connect with their treating neurologist if need arose. Forty-seven patients (6.4%) had drug default. Among patients on immunomodulatory treatments, only eight patients had drug default. High compliance rates were also observed in the stroke and epilepsy cohorts. Of the 71 patients who required emergency care during the lockdown, 24 could reach our hospital emergency. Fourteen patients either had a delay or could not seek emergency care. Two-thirds of our patients found the telemedicine experience satisfactory. Conclusion: The ongoing pandemic will continue to pose challenges to both physicians and patients. Patients in follow-up may need to be contacted regularly and counselled regarding the importance of maintaining drug compliance. Telemedicine can be used to strengthen the healthcare delivery to patients with non-COVID illnesses.


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    -  Gupta P
    -  Misra B
    -  Sudheer P
    -  Bhatia R
    -  Singh MB
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