Understanding attitudes, concerns and health behaviours of patients with inflammatory bowel disease during the COVID-19 pandemic

J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2020 Oct 16. doi: 10.1111/jgh.15299. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND AND AIM: The coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has led to a rapid shift in care delivery models for patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), however little is known about patient perceptions during this period. We aimed to prospectively evaluate the attitudes, concerns, and health behaviour of IBD patients during COVID-19 METHODS: An online survey was sent to patients from a tertiary IBD Service. The survey included demographic information and questions about the impact of COVID-19, levels of concern caused by COVID-19, perceived risk of IBD medications, medication cessation, and care delivery preferences.

RESULTS: Of 97 respondents (39%), 95 (98%) reported concern about the impact of COVID-19 on their health and 43% felt their risk of contracting COVID-19 was above average. 62% reported concern about medication induced COVID-19 risk and 11% stopped medications because of COVID-19. Patients considered all medications to increase risk of COVID-19 susceptibility and severity. 45% preferred telehealth whilst 16% preferred face-to-face clinic reviews. Preference for IBD monitoring tools in decreasing order was blood testing, stool collection, gastrointestinal ultrasound, magnetic resonance enterography then colonoscopy.

CONCLUSIONS: Patients with IBD are demonstrated to experience concern related to their diagnosis and medications. The insights provided by the survey are informative for a possible ‘second-wave’ of COVID-19 and routine care, including acceptance of telemedicine, preference for non-invasive investigations, and a need for dissemination of information and education.

PMID:33063927 | DOI:10.1111/jgh.15299