Transplant patients need resources for mental health, education, support due to a pandemic

Source / Disclosures

Disclosures: Arevalo Iraheta does not report the relevant financial disclosures.


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Dialysis patients and transplant care patients report the need for increased mental health resources, patient-centered education and support after the COVID-19 pandemic, according to published data.

In addition, patients report more frequent and severe panic attacks as a direct result of the pandemic.

Two women in an office, one listening, one looking unwell.
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“As the world struggles with the challenges of COVID-19, immunocompromised patients, such as patients with [chronic kidney disease] CKD and solid organ transplants are even more vulnerable. Yakelin A. Arevalo Iraheta, BS, from David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California and colleagues write. They added: “To truly understand patients’ experiences during a global pandemic, we have set up the COVID-19 Kidney and Transplant Hearing and Resource Resource Center (KTLRC), a telephone hotline to learn in real time about specific challenges and stresses. factors that dialysis and transplant patients have faced and disseminate transplant-related education on COVID-19, including mental health resources.

In a mixed-use study, researchers examined the experiences of the COVID-19 pandemic and information-seeking behavior in 99 patients (25.3% were Hispanic; 23.2% were white; 24.2% were Asian; 24.2% were blacks). All participants were hired through social media and electronic medical records of the transplant center, a total of 28 dialysis patients and 71 transplant patients.

Researchers conducted semi-structured, qualitative interviews and studies between June 17, 2020 and November 24, 2020. Interviews included open-ended questions about the experience of patients with the COVID-19 pandemic, the provision of health care during that time, and suggestions for improving community health. care.

Patients completed a quantitative study to provide demographics, participant type, first language spoken, and level of education. Researchers also screened patients for anxiety and depression and asked patients how they learned about COVID-19.

Researchers used thematic analyzes to identify qualitative interview topics.

In total, the researchers identified seven topics that included many stressors due to COVID-19, such as delayed medical visits, limited access to medicines, difficulty in obtaining up-to-date and patient-centered health information, difficulty in receiving dialysis supplies, delays in medical appointments, loss of health insurance and income, and increased vigilance to avoid contracting the virus. Among the group, 15 patients showed moderate to severe symptoms of anxiety and depression and reported more frequent panic attacks after the pandemic.

Patients report that they need more transplant-specific updates on COVID-19 in addition to more frequent communication from their kidney and transplant specialists.

“The pandemic has created both high levels of mental health stress for dialysis and transplant patients and difficulties in coordinating healthcare care. He gave an idea of ​​the psychological and practical challenges faced by immunosuppressed patients and the actions they take to protect their health, with or without a pandemic, “wrote Arevalo Iraheta and colleagues. “Identified gaps in support services need to be investigated so that health information is easily accessible more quickly and meets patients’ emotional needs.

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