Epilepsy care and COVID‐19: A cross‐sectional online survey from Lithuania

Background

Changes in epilepsy care during the COVID‐19 pandemic required to reassess the patient‐specialist interaction in the context of telehealth and future vaccination campaigns.

Aims of the study

The aims were to outline changes in neurologists’ experience when providing care for patients with epilepsy (PWE) and to investigate how neurologists perceive telehealth and vaccination.

Methods

We conducted an anonymous cross‐sectional online survey among members of the Lithuanian Association of Neurology.

Results

We received 104 completed forms by adult (74, 71.15%) and pediatric neurologists (30, 28.85%). A decrease in epilepsy consultations was noted by 76 (73.1%) specialists, and up to 26 (25.0%) could not provide diagnostic tests at a usual rate. Most respondents (99, 95.2%) would recommend the COVID‐19 vaccine for patients at risk. Telehealth was valued as a useful tool in epilepsy care, especially if combined with timely diagnostic and treatment options (Kruskal‐Wallis chi‐square = 10.392, p = .034 and F[4,99] = 3.125, p = .018, respectively). According to 85 (81.7%) respondents, video calls could substitute in‐person visits in at least half of all consultations.

Conclusions

Despite disrupted epilepsy care, neurologists may benefit from telehealth when providing services for PWE and become vaccination advocates to mitigate the spread of preventable infections.

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