Survey confirms COVID-19 pandemic impacted ability of COPD patients and informal caregivers to receive and administer care, but brought increased awareness to the disease
Dubai, United Arab Emirates – November 22, 2020: Royal Philips , a global leader in health technology, today announced findings from its first ever World COPD Day survey ahead of the awareness day on November 18. Philips surveyed more than 4,000 adults across Asia and the U.S. to gather insights on global awareness of respiratory conditions, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and how the COVID-19 pandemic has influenced overall perceptions of respiratory health. Responses show that while action to improve respiratory health is on the rise, significant differences exist between the COPD and non-COPD populations in how they seek care. Findings also revealed that while the pandemic created unique challenges for the COPD community, it also increased awareness for the condition and pushed COPD patients to pursue alternative care options.
Vincenzo Ventricelli, CEO, Philips Middle East & Turkey said, “Respiratory issues have a common presence around the world, way before the pandemic began. This could include chronic cough, chest tightness or difficulty in breathing. By conducting this survey, Philips aims to raise awareness on COPD and encourage people to get a careful and thorough evaluation by a physician should they experience any of the symptoms.”
COPD patients facing care challenges throughout COVID-19
For those living with COPD, the pandemic impacted the care they required and received. 56% of COPD patients report COVID-19 has made it difficult for them to get COPD treatment, 58% report that managing their COPD during the pandemic has been completely overwhelming, and 68% report they worry much more than they used to about their chronic condition because of the pandemic. COVID-19 also presented challenges for informal caregivers of COPD patients, with 79% specifically citing the pandemic as the factor that influenced the amount of care they provided to the COPD patient.
COPD awareness rising amid knowledge gaps
While COVID-19 may have exacerbated individual concerns for the nearly 65 million people  currently living with COPD, it also brought increased awareness for the chronic condition across the globe. Nearly three in five people report being more familiar with COPD now compared to prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, which may be directly linked with increased education around respiratory illnesses due to the nature of COVID-19. Prior to the pandemic, 52% of respondents reported being familiar with COPD; that number is now up to 72%.
Emphasis on respiratory health, virtual care options increases
With concern growing around in-person care, willingness for telehealth visits has been on the rise since the onset of the pandemic, according to survey respondents. Particularly for wellness visits (56% to 62%), regular check-ins for a chronic health issue (57% to 64%), and to discuss a new health issue (57% to 63%). This increase was surprisingly more prevalent among the non-COPD population, with 55% willing to use telehealth to receive treatment for a chronic health issue before COVID-19, now up to 62%. Additionally, COPD patients looked for better ways to manage their condition because of COVID-19 (75%).