The impact of Covid-19 on patients with suspected cancer: An analysis of ED presentation and referrals to a quick diagnosis unit.
The American journal of emergency medicine. 2021;:1-11
PURPOSE Patients evaluated in the emergency department (ED) who have concerning symptoms suggestive of a cancer diagnosis are mostly referred to the quick diagnosis unit of our tertiary hospital. This study analyzed the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the volume, disease patterns, and accessibility to essential investigations of patients with suspected cancer referred by the ED to this unit. METHODS Trends in referrals were analyzed from January 1 to July 8, 2020 and the corresponding dates of 2019. Only non-Covid-19 conditions were evaluated. Three time-based cohorts were defined: prepandemic (January 1-February 19), pandemic (February 19-April 22), and postpandemic (April 22-July 8). Along with descriptive statistics, linear regression was used to test for time trends with weekly referrals as the dependent variable. RESULTS There were 384, 193, and 450 patients referred during the prepandemic, pandemic, and postpandemic periods, respectively. Following an increasing rate, referrals decreased to unprecedented levels in the pandemic period (average weekly slope: -2.1 cases), then increasing again until near normalization. Waiting times to most diagnostic procedures including radiology, endoscopic, nuclear medicine, and biopsy/cytology during the pandemic period were significantly delayed and time-to-diagnosis was considerably longer (19.72 ± 10.37 days vs. 8.33 ± 3.94 days in prepandemic and 13.49 ± 6.45 days in postpandemic period; P < 0.001 in both). Compared to other cohorts, pandemic cohort patients were more likely to have unintentional weight loss and fever of unknown origin as referral indications while anemia and lymphadenopathy were less common. Patients from the pandemic cohort had a significantly lower rate of malignancies and higher of benign gastrointestinal disorders (40.93% vs. 19.53% and 20.89% in prepandemic and postpandemic periods, respectively; P < 0.001 in both), most notably irritable bowel disease, and of mental and behavioral disorders (15.54% vs. 3.39% and 6.00% in prepandemic and postpandemic periods, respectively; P < 0.001 in both). CONCLUSIONS As our hospital switched its traditional care to one focused on Covid-19 patients, recognized indicators of healthcare quality of quick diagnosis units were severely disrupted. The clinical patterns of presentation and diagnosis of the pandemic period suggested that mass media-generated mental and behavioral responses with distressing symptoms played a significant role in most of these patients.
The Role of Telehealth During the COVID-19 Pandemic Across the Interdisciplinary Cancer Team: Implications for Practice.
Seminars in oncology nursing. 2020;(6):151090
OBJECTIVE This literature review aims to explore the role of telehealth during the COVID-19 pandemic across the interdisciplinary cancer care team. DATA SOURCES Electronic databases including CINAHL, MEDLINE, PsychINFO, Scopus, and gray literature were searched using Google Scholar up until September 2020. CONCLUSION Although the safe and effective delivery of cancer care via telehealth requires education and training for health care professionals and patients, telehealth has provided a timely solution to the barriers caused by the COVID-19 pandemic on the delivery of interdisciplinary cancer services. Globally, evidence has shown that telehealth in cancer care can leverage an innovative response during the COVID-19 pandemic but may provide a long-lasting solution to enable patients to be treated appropriately in their home environment. Telehealth reduces the travel burden on patients for consultation, affords a timely solution to discuss distressing side effects, initiate interventions, and enable possible treatment additions and/or changes. IMPLICATIONS FOR NURSING PRACTICE Global public health disasters pose significant and unique challenges to the provision of necessary services for people affected by cancer. Oncology nurses can provide a central contribution in the delivery of telehealth through transformational leadership across all domains and settings in cancer care. Oncology nurses provide the "hub of cancer care" safely embedded in the interdisciplinary team. Telehealth provides a solution to the current global health crisis but could also benefit the future provision of services and broad reach clinical trials.
The Feasibility of Exercise Interventions Delivered via Telehealth for People Affected by Cancer: A Rapid Review of the Literature.
Seminars in oncology nursing. 2020;(6):151092
BACKGROUND The prevalence of exercise as an adjunct therapy to cancer treatments including chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery is growing rapidly and has been shown to improve health outcomes, treatment completion rates, and quality of life in people affected by cancer. Given the complexity of delivering cancer services during coronavirus disease (COVID-19), many people who are undergoing cancer treatment are unable to access exercise services. This review aims to investigate: (1) the feasibility of exercise telehealth interventions for individuals diagnosed with cancer; and (2) the impact of exercise telehealth interventions for people affected by cancer on physical and psychosocial outcomes. METHODS/DATA SOURCES The literature search was conducted in four electronic databases (CINAHL, Cochrane, Medline, and Psych Info) from January 1, 2010 until May 1, 2020. All peer-reviewed qualitative and quantitative studies were included irrespective of study design. Studies that investigated adults (aged ≥18 years) with a diagnosis of any cancer, irrespective of treatment type, cancer stage or primary/secondary nature of disease were included. RESULTS Twenty-nine studies (a total of 3698 participants across the included studies) were synthesized. Across the included studies the interventions were broadly classified into four main areas of telehealth: web-based, mobile applications, SMS messaging, and telephone interventions. CONCLUSION Participants across the studies showed good compliance, symptom relief and reported an overall positive experience using telehealth for exercise. There were no adverse events reported in these studies. Given the current COVID-19 pandemic, more research is required to assess the feasibility of telehealth platforms such as Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams, or FaceTime, and to determine the overall participant and exercise professional telehealth exercise delivery experience. IMPLICATIONS FOR NURSING PRACTICE Telehealth uses telecommunications technology as a tool to deliver health care to populations with limited access to cancer care. Quality care of a person living with cancer requires multidisciplinary team-based care and telecommunications technology can support interprofessional care. This review has underscored that telecommunications is a critical tool in the delivery of cancer care to enable timely ongoing support for exercise interventions for those affected by cancer. It remains important for people affected by cancer to continue to engage in and maintain regular exercise under the guidance of qualified health professionals in keeping with evidence-based clinical guidelines.