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SPECIAL ARTICLE  COVID-19 IMPACT IN ITALY Freefree

European Journal of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine 2020 June;56(3):319-22

DOI: 10.23736/S1973-9087.20.06303-0

Copyright © 2020 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

lingua: Inglese

First impact of COVID-19 on services and their preparation. “Instant paper from the field” on rehabilitation answers to the COVID-19 emergency

Paolo BOLDRINI 1, 2, Carlotte KIEKENS 3, Stefano BARGELLESI 4, Rodolfo BRIANTI 5, Silvia GALERI 6, Lucia LUCCA 7, Andrea MONTIS 8, Federico POSTERARO 9, Federico SCARPONI 10, Sofia STRAUDI 11, Stefano NEGRINI 12, 13

1 Past President, Italian Society of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine (SIMFER), Ferrara, Italy; 2 Secretary General, European Society of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine (ESPRM), Ferrara, Italy; 3 Spinal Unit, Montecatone Rehabilitation Institute, Imola, Bologna, Italy; 4 Spinal and Traumatic Brain Injuries Unit, Department of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine, AULSS 2 Marca Trevigiana, Treviso, Italy; 5 Medical Rehabilitation Unit, Department of Geriatric Rehabilitation, University Hospital, Parma, Italy; 6 Rehabilitation Department, Spalenza Center Rovato, IRCCS Don Gnocchi Foundation, Milan, Italy; 7 Rehabilitation Hospital, Sant’Anna Institute, Crotone, Italy; 8 Department of Neurorehabilitation, ASSL Oristano, ATS Sardegna, Oristano, Italy; 9 Department of Rehabilitation, Versilia Hospital, AUSL Toscana Nord Ovest, Viareggio, Lucca, Italy; 10 Brain Injury Unit, Department of Rehabilitation, USL Umbria 2, Foligno, Perugia, Italy; 11 Department of Neuroscience and Rehabilitation, University Hospital, Ferrara, Italy; 12 Department of Biomedical, Surgical, and Dental Sciences, University “La Statale”, Milan, Italy; 13 IRCCS Istituto Ortopedico Galeazzi, Milan, Italy



This paper reports the immediate impact of the epidemic on rehabilitation services in Italy, the first country in Europe hit by COVID-19. In a country with almost 5000 Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine physicians, the webinar had 230 live viewers (4.5%), and more than 8900 individual visualizations of the recorded version. The overall inadequate preparation of the rehabilitation system to face a sudden epidemic was clear, and similar to that of the acute services. The original idea of confining the COVID-19 cases to some areas of rehabilitation wards and/or hospitals, preserving others, proved not to be feasible. Continuous reorganization and adaptation were required due to the rapid changes. Overall, rehabilitation needs had to surrender to the more acute emergency, with total conversion of beds, wards and even hospitals. The quarantine needs heavily involved also outpatient services that were mostly closed. Rehabilitation professionals needed support, but also acted properly, again similarly to what happened in the acute wards. The typical needs of rehabilitation, such as human and physical contacts, but also social interactions including patient, team, family and caregivers, appeared clearly in the current unavoidable need of being suppressed. These notes could serve the preparation of other services worldwide.


KEY WORDS: Coronavirus; COVID-19; Physical and rehabilitation medicine; Rehabilitation centers

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