OBJECTIVE: To test the hypothesis that US neurologists were experiencing significant challenges with lack of personal protective equipment (PPE), rapid changes in practice, and varying institutional protocols, we conducted this survey study. The current coronavirus disease of 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has caused widespread disease and death. Rapid increases in patient volumes have exposed weaknesses in health care systems and challenged our ability to provide optimal patient care and adequate safety measures to health care workers (HCWs). METHODS: A 36-item survey was distributed to neurologists around the United States through various media platforms. RESULTS: Over a 1-week period, 567 responses were received. Of these, 56% practiced in academia. A total of 87% had access to PPE, with 45% being asked to reuse PPE due to shortages. The pandemic caused rapid changes in practice, most notably a shift toward providing care by teleneurology, although a third experienced challenges in transitioning to this model. Wide variations were noted both in testing and in the guidance provided for the exposed, sick, or vulnerable HCWs. Notably, 59% of respondents felt that their practices were doing what they could, although 56% did not feel safe taking care of patients. CONCLUSIONS: Results from our survey demonstrate significant variability in preparedness and responsiveness to the COVID-19 pandemic in neurology, affected by region, health care setting, and practice model. Practice guidelines from professional societies and other national entities are needed to improve protection for physicians and their patients, promote recommended practice changes during a pandemic, and optimize future preparedness for public health emergencies.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology