P124 Views of patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease on their care during COVID-19 pandemic
Klimova, K.(1);Ajaz, I.(1);Padilla Suarez, C.(1);
(1)University Hospital Plymouth NHS Trust, Gastroenterology, Plymouth, United Kingdom;
Patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) have experienced changes to their usual management during the COVID-19 pandemic. We organised an anonymous survey to obtain their perspective on what impact COVID-19 had on their disease and care.
115 patients with IBD followed up in our clinics between August and October 2021 were sent a questionnaire with multiple choice questions as well as free comment sections which enabled patients to develop their answers in more detail. 53 patients returned the questionnaire until now.
There were no statistically significant differences in descriptive characteristics – 52.8% patients were men, mean age was 53.1 years (range 18-85). 52.8% patients had Crohn’s disease. Overall, 38/53 were satisfied with services provided during the pandemic and similarly, 39/53 patients reported that they were happy or very happy with the use of virtual clinics. Overall, it was surprising that 56.6% patients felt that the pandemic had no impact on their disease. Nevertheless, 20.8% experienced delay in clinic appointments, 18.9% felt uncertainty about their diagnosis and 15.1% felt programmed investigations were postponed. 41 patients had a flare and 24/41 used our Helpline to obtain advice. Only one patient reported negative experience. In the free comment section, most messages were appraising the IBD team and Helpline as a useful way of keeping in touch and receiving advice. Patient 45 wrote: “I contact the team via email and am always responded to quickly.”
Most patients had positive views about virtual clinics, finding them easy and straightforward (31/53), with the advantage of not having to commute to hospital (28/53) and receiving good communication (26/53). 7/53 described virtual clinics as negative, rushed (8/53) and found it difficult to communicate (2/53). In the free comment section, many patients felt that “… there is no real substitute for a face-to-face consultation.” (patient 34) Nevertheless, in the future, 28.3% patients would like to continue with face-to-face appointments, 17.0% would be happy to continue with virtual clinics. The rest was happy with both options.
27/53 patients were able to have regular blood tests with their GP, the rest used hospital or associated services. 26/53 obtained their new medications directly from hospital, 7/53 were able to contact their GP. 18 patients did not require any new medications and continued with their regular prescription.
All patients have received vaccination against COVID-19.
Most of our patients were happy with the services provided during COVID-19 pandemic and felt that the pandemic had not had a significant impact on their disease.
(Note: this project is ongoing and will continue in November 21).