Patient Prefer Adherence. 2021 May 10;15:945-952. doi: 10.2147/PPA.S307561. eCollection 2021.
OBJECTIVE: Hemato-oncology patients are at high risk for morbidity and mortality from coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The resultant heightened anxiety among these patients may negatively affect adherence to therapy and treatment-related outcome. We aimed to assess whether the adoption of precautionary measures provided by the medical team led to a reduction in COVID-19-related anxiety and, consequently, to successful execution of treatment plans.
METHODS: All adult hemato-oncology patients actively treated or being followed-up at the outpatient service at Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center between March 25 and May 3, 2020, were invited to answer a questionnaire that focused on their anxiety and adherence to treatment following new measures to reduce risk of infection during the first COVID-19 outbreak.
RESULTS: One hundred and fifty patients (representing 24% of those being approached), average age 67 years, 52% male, and 57% undergoing antineoplastic therapy, responded to the survey. The introduction of precautionary measures resulted in a significant reduction in anxiety level in all patients, irrespective of age, sex, or treatment status. Attendance to scheduled visits in day care and outpatient clinics remained unchanged. Adherence to planned blood and imaging tests were 81% and 73%, respectively, and 93% of the patients were satisfied with their medical care. Thirty-two percent of patients used telemedicine. Satisfaction with telemedicine was highest among non-actively treated patients and those experiencing high anxiety levels.
CONCLUSION: Reorganization of the hemato-oncology unit and provision of information to patients reduced COVID-19-related anxiety and enabled the same delivery of therapy as that prior to the pandemic.