A Qualitative Analysis of Rheumatic Disease Patients’ Experiences with COVID-19 – UROP Spring Symposium 2021

A Qualitative Analysis of Rheumatic Disease Patients’ Experiences with COVID-19

Hallie Chabrier


Research Mentor(s): Beth Wallace, MD, MSc
Research Mentor School/College/Department: Internal Medicine/Rheumatology, Michigan Medicine
Presentation Date: Thursday, April 22, 2021
Session: Session 1 (10am-10:50am)
Breakout Room: Room 13
Presenter: 5

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Background: Little is known about how COVID-19 interacts with rheumatic diseases. Although people with autoimmune diseases are thought to be more susceptible to complications of COVID-19, countless Americans with such illnesses still face uncertainty with how to protect themselves and how to seek medical attention. Objectives: This project consists of two subprojects with slightly different aims. The objective of the FORWARD subproject is to understand the experiences of rheumatic disease patients who displayed symptoms of COVID-19. The UofM subproject serves to uncover the long term impacts of COVID-19 among rheumatic disease patients. Methods: Qualitative data was collected from two cohorts. We conducted interviews with rheumatic disease patients from the FORWARD registry who reported testing positive for COVID-19 or antibodies, or received treatment for COVID-19. We reviewed electronic medical records of rheumatic disease patients at Michigan Medicine who tested positive for COVID-19 or antibodies, or were presumed positive and displayed symptoms for one month or more. Qualitative analysis, particularly through open coding, will serve to identify patterns or themes within patients’ experiences. Preliminary Results: One theme that continuously appears is the uncertainty in seeking help. Many patients were misdiagnosed””despite displaying symptoms””and thus received inadequate treatment. These experiences often had an emotional impact, prompting fear in terms of spreading the virus and suffering complications due to their autoimmune disease. We have analyzed data from 12 FORWARD participants, and will continue with the 45 UofM patients, looking for significant themes to shed light on the experiences of rheumatic diseases patients throughout the pandemic.

Authors: Hallie Chabrier, Yomei Shaw, Beth Wallace, Charlotte Cochrane, Armaan Patel, Christina Kim, Katherine Taylor, Nima Keyvan, Kaleb Michaud
Research Method: Survey Research

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