Patients' perspective on emergency treatment of ophthalmologic diseases during the first phase of SARS-CoV2 pandemic in a tertiary referral center in Germany - the COVID-DETOUR questionnaire study
During the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, the need of treatment of urgent ophthalmological diseases and the possible risk of a SARS-CoV-2 infection had to be weighed against each other. In this questionnaire study, we aimed to analyze potential barriers and patients' health beliefs during and after the lockdown early 2020 in a tertiary referral center in Kiel, Germany.
Ninety-three patients were included, 43 in subgroup A (before April 20th) and 50 in subgroup B (April 20th or later). Retinal disorders were the most common causes for admission (approximately 60%).. Only 8 patients (8.6%) experienced a delay between their decision to visit a doctor until the actual examination. Every fourth patient was afraid of a COVID-19 infection, and expected a higher likelihood for an infection at the hospital. Patients with comorbidities tended to be more likely to be afraid of an infection (correlation coefficient 0.183, p = 0.0785) and were significantly more likely to be concerned about problems with organizing follow-up care (corr. Coefficient 0.222, p = 0.0328). Higher age was negatively correlated with fear of infection (corr. Coefficient - 0.218, p-value 0.034).
In this questionnaire study, only a minority of patients indicated a delay in treatment, regardless of whether symptoms occurred before or after the lockdown before April 20th, 2020. While patients with comorbidities were more concerned about infection and problems during follow-up care, patients of higher age - who have a higher mortality - were less afraid. Protection of high-risk groups should be prioritized during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic.
The study was registered as DRKS00021630 at the DRKS (Deutsches Register Klinischer Studien) before the conduction of the study on May 5th, 2020.