Treating ADHD in a Time of COVID-19

During the covid-19 era, APSARD has been able to connect and lean on our partnerships with other ADHD organizations. CADDRA, the Canadian ADHD Resource Alliance, has partnered with APSARD in the past and present to share information in the ADHD field. APSARD is proud to work alongside CADDRA and encourages its members to utilize the resources highlighted in the CADDRA submitted blog below.

Treating ADHD in a Time of COVID-19

COVID-19 has created a range of challenges for clinicians, including those treating patients with ADHD.

At the end of March, CADDRA – Canadian ADHD Resource Alliance – surveyed its members regarding the impact the continued spread of the virus and subsequent public health measures had on their practices. We heard about their concerns for patients, the impact on practices, and how they are making patient care work during this time.

Not surprisingly, Canadian practices were morphing into virtual care centres and figuring out ways to adapt to a new work environment while the survey also revealed a substantial financial impact on practices.

Respondents to the CADDRA member survey were representative of different disciplines, practice settings and locations.

Rate the extent to which you agree with the following statement: “My ADHD practice has been impacted by COVID-19

The majority (85%) reported their practice was impacted or very impacted by the pandemic. Additionally, 80% reported a financial impact on their practice.

Has the COVID-19 outbreak had a financial impact on your practice?

Several respondents indicated that the biggest difficulty they were facing was the ability to properly assess patients, some citing an inability collect biometrics virtually.

Are you continuing to see patients with ADHD?

New patient consultations have generally reduced, with roughly half (45%) reporting that they were no longer able to see new patients, and 17% seeing existing patients only.

Most respondents (80%) – have switched to virtual care only, while 8.5% continue to provide some in-person with virtual care.

What type of virtual care are you providing?

Switching to virtual care was achieved through a combination of phone, video and email support for just over a third of respondents (35%); just under a third were using phone only (30%) and the same number were using video only; a small number were using email only.

Of those using video, almost half (46%) were using alternative video-conferencing platforms (e.g. Zoom, Skype); 19% were using provincial telemedicine platforms and the same percentage were using private virtual care solutions; other videoconferencing options (FaceTime, WhatsApp) were used by 16%.

More than half reported that the care they are providing patients with ADHD had changed.

Challenges facing practices & patients

Assessments were the biggest problem area identified. However, respondents also discussed issues with accessibility of the virtual tools for patients, and difficulties faced when patients had to conduct an interview in a more distracting home environment.

Asked about what they perceived to be the biggest challenges facing their patients with ADHD, many respondents discussed how anxiety was generally high among patients and families now facing new challenges and increased stress.

Additionally, many patients are dealing with a loss of their routine and now face a much more unstructured schedule. Dealing with boredom and managing to stay productive or active was a common comment – not just for patients, but also for the healthcare professionals surveyed.

How are healthcare professionals staying healthy?

Asked about their personal strategies for navigating this situation, many respondents stressed the importance of staying connected – talking with friends or colleagues, spending time with family (or simply walking the dog more).
Others are taking the time to do yoga or practice mindfulness. A common theme was the importance of maintaining some form of routine.

Strategies for navigating COVID-19

The survey respondents also told us what resources better support patient care during this time would. In response, CADDRA has compiled the following evidence-based information and resources for clinicians and their patients:

In the last few weeks, many of our members sent in ADHD resources, and wellness tips or provided general feedback and we will continue to update our resource pages in the coming weeks based on this information. We invite APSARD members to utilize our resources.

Keep safe, keep healthy.
CADDRA – Canadian ADHD Resource Alliance