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IJMDC. 2022; 6(1): 110-116

The effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the refusal of elderly patients and chronic diseases patients to visit the emergency department in the Makkah region

Nihad Ahmed ELnashar, Sarah Bader Alotaibi, Shatha Mesfer Alwagdani, Joharah Naif Alotaibi, Amaal Ahmed Alzahrani, Maram Mohammed Alosaimi, Maha Fayez Albogami, Raghad Mohammed Althomali.


Background: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic restricted people's daily activities, including seeking medical care whenever it is must. This study aimed to assess the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on elderly patients and chronic diseases patients' refusal to visit the emergency department.(ED)
Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted in the Makkah region, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Data were collected using a predesigned questionnaire distributed through social media. A total of 92 participants took part in this survey and were included in the statistical analysis. Information obtained from the participants included demographic data, the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on patient's refusal to visit the ED, and the exacerbation of their medical conditions because of that refusal.
Results: Unlike the expected, there was approximately a 10% increase in the number of emergency visits than the pre-pandemic period. However, among those who did not attend the ED despite having an emergency condition, the leading cause (70%) was the fear of catching COVID-19 infection. Diabetes patients displayed a significantly higher percentage of those who were worried about visiting the ED during the COVID-19 pandemic (p £ 0.05). Fortunately, a higher percentage did not state any further health consequences as a result of that refusal.
Conclusion: ED visits were found to be increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. Considering the fear of being infected by COVID-19 was the main stated reason by respondents who refused emergency visits.

Key words: COVID-19, refusal, elderly, chronic, emergency, Makkah

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