What effects does confinement have on chronically ill people? A study delivers “rather reassuring” results

With the Covid-19 epidemic, the Dijon University Hospital received numerous donations, intended for research. “In particular, we received an envelope of € 75,000 paid by the DFCO (Dijon football Côte-d’Or)”, emphasizes Florence Martel, director of research at the CHU.

Thanks to these resources, twelve research projects were funded, including the Cléo CD project. The objective: to determine whether, in patients suffering from a chronic disease (multiple sclerosis, AMD, chronic respiratory failure, etc.), confinement has had a negative effect on behavior and on health.

In all, 1,342 patients were interviewed by telephone after four weeks of confinement. “The results rather reassured us”, comments Mathieu Boulin, clinical pharmacist at the CHU, coordinator of the Cléo CD study:

  • 1% of patients stopped taking their medication and 1% of patients did not come to a medical appointment – for fear, in both cases, of Covid;
  • 5% of patients also described psychological suffering;
  • the hygieno-dietetic rules, on the other hand, were less well respected. Half of the patients reduced their daily physical activity by 25% or more, half gained weight (over 2 kg) and 40% increased their exposure to screens by 25% or more.

Women more at risk than men

What consequences can be drawn from this when the second wave is here? There are, underlines the hospital practitioner, “patient profiles” who, because they have less adhered to their treatment and to the hygiene rules that are recommended to them, “would require better follow-up”. This is the case, “surprisingly”, “of women, rather elderly, alone and in the city” who are more at risk during episodes of confinement.

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For the management of the CHU, this research work has highlighted the flaws in its organization in telemedicine. “Not all departments are equipped to teleconsultation which meets regulatory frameworks, emphasizes Florence Martel. Because who says teleconsultation means declaration to the Regional Health Agency, a key letter to be able to code the acts and be reimbursed, consent to have patients sign, in short, an entire organization that is far from trivial. And, of course, there were exemptions during confinement to manage the emergency, but the real teleconsultation must be a little organized and professionalized. This is what we must now get down to. “

Alexandra Caccivio

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