Managing Parkinson’s during the COVID-19 pandemic: Perspectives from people living with Parkinson’s and health professionals
Soilemezi D., Roberts HC., Navarta-Sánchez MV., Kunkel D., Ewings S., Reidy C., Portillo MC.
Objectives: The aim of this study was to understand how people living with Parkinson's and healthcare professionals perceived their care management and interactions with health services were affected during the COVID-19 pandemic. Background: During the COVID-19 pandemic, many governments introduced restrictions and services that support Parkinson's care management had to cease or be delivered remotely. These changes may have had an impact on the well-being of people living with Parkinson's. Methods: A qualitative exploratory UK study was carried out. Semi-structured individual interviews with people living with Parkinson's and health professionals were recorded, transcribed verbatim and analysed using Braun´s and Clarke´s thematic analysis. Eleven patients and 10 health professionals were recruited between April and September 2020. The study was reported using the COREQ. Results: Two main themes were identified. In the first theme, many patients and professionals reported that the COVID-19 pandemic made some people living with Parkinson's feel isolated and vulnerable due to disruptions to their social networks and usual activities related to Parkinson's disease care. However, other patients remained connected with their networks. In the second theme, patients and most professionals mentioned that some clinical practices were cancelled, delayed or transformed to remote consultation. Conclusion: The COVID-19 restrictions had an impact on how people living with Parkinson's managed their care and in their interactions with healthcare services. Health professionals should assess the risk of vulnerability, social isolation, physical inactivity and confidence with remote consultations in people living with Parkinson's. This might inform a rethinking of existing clinical interactions with people living with Parkinson's towards a flexible, sustainable, person-centred care model. Relevance to clinical practice: This study has shown that Parkinson's care management and interactions with healthcare services should provide personalised and flexible support. To meet this challenge, the design of the organisation of health services should include greater involvement of patients and person-centred care models.