Effect of Standardised Virtual Communication on Anxiety in Relatives of Patients with COVID-19 Infection in Central Gujarat: A Prospective Interventional Study
Dr. Niraj Rathod,
A-202, Gujarat Medical Education and Research Society Medical College and Hospital, Medical College Quarters, Baroda, Gujarat, India.
Introduction: There are various researches for increased anxiety in Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients and their relatives due to separation, but most of them are observational. Audio-video communication can be employed for communication between patients in rigorous isolation and their relatives. There were few researches available about the effectiveness of video calling on anxiety in COVID-19 patient. Gujarat lags considerably behind, according to bibliometric analysis of the India-based COVID-19 publication. Thus, the authors sought to conduct present study to evaluate that how video conferencing between COVID-19 patients in isolation and their relatives, affects anxiety.
Aim: To determine the effect of standardised virtual communication on anxiety levels in relatives of COVID-19 intubated patient’s.
Materials and Methods: This prospective interventional study was conducted at a tertiary care centre, Gujarat Medical Education and Research Society Medical College and Hospital, Vadodara, Gujarat, India, from April 2021 to July 2021. Total 283 relatives of COVID-19 patient were recruited by purposive sampling. Virtual communication unit was set up, where relatives can communicate audio-visually with their patient and caregiver with help of video calling technology. Inside Intensive Care Unit (ICU), the caregivers (intern, doctors or nurses) wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kit handled the portable audio-visual screen and answered on behalf of the patient. The Hamilton anxiety scale was used to measure the anxiety of relatives before and after the communication. Paired t-test was used to statistically analyse the data. Level of significant p-value <0.05 was considered.
Results: A total of 283 subjects with 178 males and 105 female relatives were enrolled in the study. As an effect of communication, the mild anxiety prevalence decreased from 69.71% to 46.27%, the moderate anxiety prevalence decreased from 4.93% to 3.81%, and 49.92% of relatives reported being anxiety-free after communication. Statistical analysis of the paired t-test of Hamilton anxiety score showed a drop in anxiety score after communication from 4.77±3.66 to 2.88±2.34 (p-value <0.001).
Conclusion: Audio-visual technology is effective as a mode of communication and counselling during a pandemic to reduce anxiety in COVID-19 victim families.