N08 The influence of the Covid-19 epidemic on access to medical advice for children with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), based on patients from The Children's Memorial Health Institute, Warsaw (IPCZD).
Kotkowicz Szczur, M.(1);Matuszczyk, M.(2);Kierkuś, J.(2);
(1)Instytut Pomnik Centrum Zdrowia Dziecka, Oddział Gastroenterologi- Hepatologii i Zaburzeń Karmienia, Warsaw, Poland;(2)The Children's Memorial Health Institute., Department of Gastroenterology- Hepatology- Feeding disorders and Pediatrics, Warsaw, Poland;
COVID -19 significantly affected all levels of medical care as well as access to medical care for children with Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD).The purpose of the study was to investigate how the Covid-19 epidemic influenced on the access to medical care for children with IBD, on the quality of medical care during this period and on the health of young patients.
The analysis was based on the results of the questionnaire containing 15 questions addressed to the parents of children with IBD. The questions concerned mainly access to GP consultations and gastroenterology consultations, but also access to medicines and parents' concerns about the health of children during the pandemic.
Since December 2020, 150 questionnaires have been sent to parents of children with IBD. 72 completed questionnaires were returned and 60 of them were included into the analysis (12 were excluded due to lack of complete data). The T-Student test was used for statistical analysis.
Only 5 % of respondents (n=3) stated that the pandemic had no impact on access to a GP, as many as 83% (n = 50) indicated that the epidemic made access to primary care physicians very difficult.
Changes in access to health care during the Covid-19 epidemic caused anxiety about further treatment of the child in 96.7% (n = 58, p<0,05 ) of the surveyed parents.
In The Children's Memorial Health Institute due to the limitations of visits related to the development of the pandemic, telemedicine was introduced on a large scale. Due to the easy access to medical telepaths and the resulting, if necessary, outpatient visits, the respondents assessed the access to medical consultations of doctors from the IBD team in IPCZD as much better than before the pandemic 58% (n = 35, p<0,05) or no changes compared to the time before the pandemic 42% (n = 25). 90% (n=54) of the surveyed parents indicated that they would also like to use telemedicine after the epidemic as an alternative to some hospital visits.
Statistical analysis also showed a correlation between difficulties with access to specialized medications during a pandemic and the occurrence of an exacerbation of the disease in a child during that period.
Out of the 40 (67%) group of parents who showed difficulties in purchasing medicines for their children in the survey, as many as 75% (n = 30, p <0.05) reported exacerbation of the disease during the epidemic.
Based on the above results, we concluded that the pandemic had a major impact on access to medical care as well as on access to specialized medications. In The Children's Memorial Health Institute, thanks to the development of telemedicine, access to specialist care in the IBD team has not changed.