Impact of COVID-19 on Clinical Practices during Lockdown: A pan India Survey of Orthopaedic Surgeons
Introduction: The social lockdown measures imposed to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, have had an profound effects on the healthcare systems across the world and India has been no exception to it. The study was aimed to evaluate the impact of COVID-19 on orthopaedic practice in India during the lockdown period and assess the preparedness of orthopaedic surgeons for resuming clinical practice after the initial lockdown was lifted.
Materials and Methods: An online survey of 35 questions was conducted to evaluate impact on (i) general orthopaedic practice (ii) hospital protocols (iii) out-patient practice (iv) surgical practice (v) personal protective equipment (PPE) use and (vi) post-lockdown preparedness.
Results: A total number of 588 practising orthopaedic surgeons from India completed the survey. Majority (88.3%) found severe impact (>50%) on trauma surgery and nontrauma surgery with significant reduction in out -patient attendance compared to corresponding time in 2019. There were significant changes made in individual hospital protocols (91.7 %). Appropriate required PPE was available in majority of the hospitals (74.3%). No remodelling or upgrading of the existing operating theatre infrastructure was done by most surgeons (89.5%).
Conclusion: This pan India survey of orthopaedic surgeons has indicated that COVID-19 has had a profound impact on their outpatient and surgical trauma and non-trauma practice, due to the lockdown and resulted in significant changes to hospital protocols. Preparedness to resume clinical and surgical practice was associated with anxiety in two-thirds of the respondents. Majority of the orthopaedic practitioners felt that they would continue to conduct pre-operative COVID-19 screening and use PPE even after the lockdown is over.
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