The patient's perspective of remote respiratory assessments during the COVID-19 pandemic

Amyotroph Lateral Scler Frontotemporal Degener. 2021 Jun 7:1-5. doi: 10.1080/21678421.2021.1920982. Online ahead of print.


Forced vital capacity (FVC) is an essential respiratory measurement for assessment and monitoring of patients with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). Our clinic rapidly implemented remote assessment of FVC after COVID-19 related restrictions on respiratory testing were imposed, using mini-spirometers and video consultation. We sought to evaluate the patient’s experiences of performing remote respiratory assessments to guide future development and optimisation of the service. Twenty-five patients completed surveys. The mean age was 65.2 years and average time from diagnosis was 17.04 (2-99) months. Seventy-two percent (n = 18) required help from a caregiver to perform the tests. Ninety-two percent (n = 23) of patients reported that overall, they were satisfied and were happy to continue with remote respiratory assessment. Reducing the number of clinic visits for review and assessment was valued by 92% (n = 23) and reducing the risk associated with COVID-19 was valued by 96% (n = 24). The highest frequency reported as acceptable for performing the remote breathing assessments was monthly (60%, n = 15), followed by every second month (28%, n = 7). Remote respiratory testing is viewed positively by patients. These technologies used in combination with video-consultations and other novel forms of remote monitoring implemented in response to the COVID-19 crisis will continue to be valuable tools for clinical care in future. However, further evaluation of the validity of remote respiratory assessment is required.

PMID:34092157 | DOI:10.1080/21678421.2021.1920982