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Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic and Resultant Lockdown in India on Patients with Chronic Rheumatic Diseases: An Online Survey

1 Department of Clinical Immunology and Rheumatology, Christian Medical College Hospital, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Department of Psychiatry, Christian Medical College, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India
3 Department of Biostatistics, Christian Medical College, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India
4 Department of Physiology, Christian Medical College, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
John Mathew,
Department of Clinical Immunology and Rheumatology, Christian Medical College Hospital, Ida Scudder Road, Vellore - 632 004, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/injr.injr_231_20

Background: Impact of COVID-19 pandemic and consequential lockdown in India, on patients with chronic rheumatic diseases (CRD) pertaining these components of interest: (a) physical health, (b) mental health, (c) facets of social well-being, (d) health-care accessibility, and (e) COVID-19 related knowledge, attitude, and practices (KAP) was assessed. Methods: An online/onsite self-reported questionnaire-based cross-sectional survey was utilized to capture responses during May 20, 2020, to June 6, 2020, from CRD (both inflammatory and non-inflammatory) patients satisfying eligibility criteria, at a tertiary hospital in India. Adverse impact was defined as strong agreement/agreement on Likert scale to an impact on the individual components of interest. Results: From 1533 completed responses analyzed, adverse impact was noted on physical health (32.3%), mental health (42.9%), social health (54.8%), occupational life (55.9%), and financial condition (54.4%). Self-reported COVID-19 diagnosis (1.4%), flare/possible flare of CRD (41.3%), and symptoms of mental distress (64%) were also reported. Awareness and utilization of tele-video consultation (TVC) were 27.3% and 11.2%, respectively, with 89.9% expressing difficulty in procuring medication. COVID-19 KAP assessment revealed awareness of COVID-19 suspect symptoms and safety practices to be >60% and >70% respectively, with safety adherence being >75%. Conclusion: Majority of respondents reported adverse impact on social health, occupational life, financial condition, and interruption of CRD management, possibly complicated by the lack of awareness and low utilization of TVC. Although mental distress was greatly reported in the participants, a general preponderance toward self-education of current scenario and safety adherence was noted, indicating a favorable reception of future health-care directives.

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