The Arthritis NewsletterSummer 2020
COVID-19 in Quebec: Sharing Perspectives on Living with Arthritis during the Pandemic
By Arthritis Research Canada’s Patients Intéressés Par la Recherche Sur L’arthrite (PIRA)
The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases are different across Canada and as the virus spread, so did the anxiety. While everyone across the nation can relate to the feelings of stress and panic, individuals’ experiences were certainly different. With the vast majority of cases in Canada being reported in Quebec, we reached out to our Quebec patient advisory board – PIRA (Patients Interested in Arthritis Research) to gain an understanding of what it’s like living with arthritis in Quebec, during the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the PIRA board, people’s experiences with confinement were rather different depending on whether they were retired or parents of young children. For many patients, the adaptation may have resembled the stages of grief similar to when they first learned of their diagnosis. There’s also the increased anxiety of being immunocompromised and facing a greater risk for an infection. Additionally, telework has been a source of stress for some young parents as they cope with work and children. Their level of patience and quality of sleep may have also been affected.
For the grandparents, the inability to see their immediate family, especially the grandchildren, is a painful experience despite the support of video and telephone calls.
More than the feeling of isolation, it was sometimes the impression of a loss of autonomy that prevailed.
“The confinement was quite challenging for me due to having to telework and rely on my partner to do all the shopping, grocery and pharmacy. There’s the feeling of loss of autonomy.” — Marie-Claude Beaulieu, living with rheumatoid arthritis.
Medical consultations have been done mostly by telephone. Several members of PIRA take hydroxychloroquine, but have had little or no shortage of drug supply.
Finally, the re-opening and the arrival of nicer weather are seen by some as comfort while others view it with concern and wonder if the rules that protect the most vulnerable populations will remain in place.
“Confinement is easier to follow than deconfinement because we risk forgetting the rules of social distancing more easily. I am afraid a too hasty or poorly observed deconfinement will generate a new wave of COVID-19.” — Jean Légaré, living with rheumatoid arthritis.
PIRA urges everyone to continue to follow all the recommended guidelines in order to keep everyone healthy and safe.
For more information about PIRA, visit: https://www.arthritisresearch.ca/pira