Supervised physical therapy and rehabilitation are vital for effective long-term management of axial spondyloarthritis (axSpA). However, the unprecedented year of 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted a drastic change in healthcare provision across all disease areas. In this review, we summarize changes that have been introduced to support rehabilitation in axSpA during the pandemic and considerations for the future of axSpA rehabilitation in the wake of COVID-19. We have witnessed the launch of online virtual physical therapy and education, in addition to an emphasis on remote monitoring. We have been propelled into a new era of digital service provision; not only providing a temporary stop-gap in treatment for some patients, but in future potentially allowing for a wider reach/ provision of care and resilience of vital services. Unique collaboration between patients, healthcare professionals and researchers will be key to foster relationships/ trust and facilitate wider evaluation and implementation of digital services at each stage in a patient’s journey – imperative to relieve pressure from healthcare providers. Despite the potential of such digital interventions, it is important to highlight the maintained critical need for face-to-face services, particularly for vulnerable patients or during diagnosis or a flare of symptoms. It is also vital that we remain vigilant regarding digital exclusion, to avoid further widening of existing health inequalities. Optimisation of digital infrastructure, staff skills and digital education alongside promoting accessibility, engagement and building trust among communities will be vital as we enter this new age of blended in-person/ digital service provision.
Fuente: Arthritis Care & Research