Turkish Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
The effects of COVID-19 on Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation in Turkey in the first month of pandemic
İlker Yağcı 1 ,Selda Sarıkaya 2 ,F. Figen Ayhan 3 ,Ayse Bahsi 4 ,Başak Bilir Kaya 5 ,Belgin Erhan 6 ,Emine Dündar Ahi 7 ,Sevil Okan 8 ,Yasemin Özkan 9 ,Merve Damla Korkmaz 10 ,Elif Yakşi 11 ,Derya Demirbağ Kabayel 12 ,Hande Özdemir 12 ,Gülseren Kayalar 13 ,Canan Çelik 14 ,Fatma Nur Kesiktaş 15 ,Hanife Çağlar Yagcı 6 ,Lale Altan 16
1 Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Marmara University, Faculty of Medicine, Istanbul, Turkey
2 Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Bülent Ecevit University, Faculty of Medicine, Zonguldak, Turkey
3 Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Medicana International Ankara Hospital, Ankara, Turkey
4 Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Dr. Ersin Arslan Training and Research Hospital, Gaziantep, Turkey
5 Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Erenköy Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Hospital, Istanbul, Turkey
6 Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Istanbul Medeniyet University, Faculty of Medicine, Istanbul, Turkey
7 Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Private Medar Hospital, Kocaeli, Turkey
8 Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Tokat State Hospital, Tokat, Turkey
9 Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Adnan Menderes University, Faculty of Medicine, Aydın, Turkey
10 Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Kanuni Sultan Süleyman Training and Research Hospital, Istanbul, Turkey
11 Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Abant Izzet Baysal University, Faculty of Medicine, Bolu, Turkey
12 Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Trakya University, Faculty of Medicine, Edirne, Turkey
13 Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Mia Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Center, Ankara, Turkey
14 Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Giresun University, Faculty of Medicine, Giresun, Turkey
15 Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Health Sciences, Istanbul Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Training and Research Hospital, Istanbul, Turkey
16 Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Uludağ University, Faculty of Medicine, Bursa, Turkey
DOI : 10.5606/tftrd.2020.6800 Objectives: The outbreak of novel coronavirus-2019 (COVID-19) has affected Turkey very seriously, as well as all around the world. Many urgent and radical measures were taken due to the high contagious risk and mortality rate of the outbreak. It is noteworthy that isolation recommendations and the provision of health services for pandemic have a negative impact on Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PMR) services. In this study, we aimed to evaluate the effects of COVID-19 on the PMR services and physiatrists immediately after the first month of pandemic in Turkey.

Patients and methods: An online survey consisting of 45 items was sent to the members of the Turkish Society of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. The main goal of the survey was to evaluate the changes in the provided service of PMR and conditions of physiatrists one month after the first reported COVID-19 case in Turkey.

Results: A total of 606 PMR specialists and residents responded to the survey. The mean number of the patients visited the outpatient clinics was 148.2±128.5 per week before the pandemic, it significantly decreased to 23.4±33.1 per week after the first month of the reported first COVID-19 case. Similarly, the mean number of the patients of inpatient service significantly decreased from 21.7±39.3 per week to 2.5±10.0 per week after the first month of the pandemic. Most of the residents (69%) reported that their training was seriously affected due to pandemic. From the economic aspect, 69.2% of the participants who were working at private hospitals reported a decrease in their monthly salary, and 21% of them were sent to an unpaid vacation. A total of 21.9% of private-practice institutions paused their services. During the first month, 46.9% of the participants were assigned to the different services such as COVID-19 inpatient service, emergency or COVID-19 outpatient clinics. According to the Republic of Turkey, Ministry of Health guideline and algorithm, 15.7% of the physicians were in the category of healthcare workers with suspected COVID-19.

Conclusion: The COVID-19 pandemic affected seriously both the services and the PMR physicians as early as the first month. This effect is expected to become worse, when the duration of pandemic prolongs. Proper arrangements and measures should be planned to ameliorate the negative effects of the pandemic on the patients and PMR physicians. Keywords : Coronavirus, COVID-19, pandemic, physical medicine and rehabilitation