Focus on COVID-19

Continuity of care – a challenge during the COVID-19 pandemic

Focus on COVID-19

Continuity of care – a challenge during the COVID-19 pandemic

KRISTEL KEMMERLING, NATASHA YATES

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© EDWIN TAN/ISTOCKPHOTO.COM models used for illustrative purposes only
© EDWIN TAN/ISTOCKPHOTO.COM models used for illustrative purposes only

Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic has seen a loss of continuity of care in general practice, with impacts on patient care, including missed preventive health opportunities, delayed diagnosis and over-investigation, as well as GP burnout. As the pandemic continues, GPs need to be supported to maintain continuity of care to achieve the best outcomes for their patients  and themselves.

Article Extract

The opportunity to provide continuity of care to patients is part of the appeal and strength of general practice. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to change the face of healthcare worldwide, loss of continuity of care has been a challenge for both patients and GPs. The ability to provide longitudinal care enables GPs to develop an ongoing therapeutic relationship with patients, which carries multiple benefits including reduced mortality, increased patient adherence to treatment and increased patient satisfaction regarding their care.1,2 Continuity of care also includes the continuity of medical records and co-ordination of management, which results in decreased hospitalisations and improved patient outcomes.3 The ability to provide continuity of care also has benefits for doctors, as the doctor-patient relationship is a key reason for GPs choosing to stay in this specialty.4,5