Early Interv Psychiatry. 2021 Oct 8. doi: 10.1111/eip.13227. Online ahead of print.
AIM: To explore the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic first wave in Quebec, Canada on practices in early intervention services (EIS) for first-episode psychosis, including reorganization of clinical and administrative practices and teleconsultation use.
METHODS: Adopting a cross-sectional descriptive study design, a 41 questions online survey was sent to the team leaders of all the 33 Quebec EIS, of which 100% responded. Data were collected from 18 May to 4 June 2020 and analysed using descriptive statistics and content analysis. Programmes were categorized as urban/non-urban and results were compared between these.
RESULTS: All 33 existing Quebec EIS (16 urban and 17 non-urban) completed the survey. Among them, 85% did not experience redeployment of EIS team staff and 58% reported stable frequency of patient interactions, either in-person or through telemedicine. During the studied period, 64% of programmes reported that all professionals used teleconsultation at least occasionally. However, 73% of programmes, mostly in non-urban areas, reported some limitations regarding clinicians’ degree of ease with teleconferencing platforms and half of EIS could not access technical support to use them. The majority of EIS (94%) expressed interest to participate in a training program about the use of technologies for teleconsultations. Many smaller clinics reported interest in offering multiregional/multiclinics group teletherapy, therefore merging their pool of patients and clinical staff workforce.
CONCLUSIONS: Further studies are warranted to improve access to and use of technology-mediated treatment, which seems to be a promising alternative to provide high-quality mental healthcare during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
PMID:34626091 | DOI:10.1111/eip.13227
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