To report the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the activity of nurses working on an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) unit and to identify reasons for telehealth care and its relationship to certain characteristics.
The COVID-19 pandemic had led to an increase in demand for remote care in patients with inflammatory bowel disease who require monitoring and frequent access to health services.
Methods: A retrospective study of all activity (in person and by phone call or email) done on the unit during the acute phase of the pandemic at a reference hospital in Spain. Numbers of activities done by nurses, reasons for telehealth care and sociodemographic and clinical data were collected. Statistical analysis was performed using frequency, chi-squared and analysis of variance tests.
A total of 1,095 activities for 561 patients who received care were reported. Among them, 1042 (95.2%) were telemedicine activities, amounting to a 47.3% increase over the prior year. COVID-19-related activities numbered 588 (59.5%). Consultations due to disease flare-up numbered 134 (13.7%), representing a 145% increase compared to 2019. Significant differences were found between reasons for using telemedicine and diagnosis, occupational status, contact week and treatment.
The acute phase of the pandemic has changed the activity managed by the nursing staff on the unit. Identifying and analysing these changes has yielded valuable information to achieve more efficient management and better care quality for patients in special situations.