Schizophrenia as a Comorbidity in COVID-19 Infection in Indonesia
Schizophrenia is a mental disorder affecting almost 1% of the global population. COVID-19 makes schizophrenia patients more vulnerable to poor outcomes because of their immune system disorder. When a patient is diagnosed with COVID-19, they must isolate for at least 14 days. This is where consultation liaison psychiatrists have a great role to play, both in delivering the news and in helping the patients to cope during their illness. The way in which health workers communicate with the patients should also be adjusted during the pandemic to limit the spread of COVID-19. This is a case report of a male paranoid schizophrenia patient who was also diagnosed with COVID-19 during his hospitalization. We used consultation liaison psychiatry techniques to break the news of his COVID-19 diagnosis. The patient refused to be isolated at first, but finally agreed after we had explained the situation further to him. Telepsychiatry could be an alternative way to communicate with an isolated COVID-19 patient as long as both the doctor and the patient were comfortable with the method. We used it to communicate with the patient until his discharge from hospital and he seemed quite comfortable with it. This article aims to raise awareness of the possibility of COVID-19 infection in a schizophrenic patient and highlight the role of consultation liaison psychiatrists in delivering the bad news about COVID-19 infection. The use of telepsychiatry for a psychiatric patient who needs to be isolated due to COVID-19 could also be a safer and more comfortable way to communicate, for both the doctor and the patient.
Keywords: Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry, COVID-19, mental disorder, schizophrenia, telepsychiatry.
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