A study published in the International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease highlighted how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the quality of care, quality of life, psychological factors, and social factors of people affected by chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and their caregivers and healthcare professionals (HCPs).
In this cross-sectional observational narrative medicine study, researchers assessed 146 participants (79 patients with COPD, 24 caregivers, and 43 HCPs).
The results showed that during the initial COVID-19 lockdown, almost 60% of patients with COPD reported experiencing terror, fear and/or apprehension; at reopening, this figure was down to just over 35%. Among caregivers, these figures were 100% at first lockdown and just over 45% at reopening. The metaphors most commonly used by patients to describe COPD and COVID-19 were “monster” and “murderer,” respectively, the researchers noted.
Moreover, only 12.6% of patients with COPD reported having regular access to medical visits during safety lockdown, while 59% of general practitioners and pulmonologists reported using telemedicine.
“It is relevant to aim for a multidisciplinary and multilevel system of care that empowers telemedicine and integrates specific psychological support programs for [patients with] COPD and their caregivers,” the researchers concluded.
Keywords: COPD, COVID-19, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, narrative medicine, quality of life