Background: Regular outpatient rehabilitation is prescribed for many patients with chronic neurological disorders, such as Parkinson's disease or Multiple Sclerosis, to constantly support patients and their proxies in disease management.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, federal institutions and governments worldwide have directed local or nationwide lockdowns. During these times, the provision of regular outpatient rehabilitation service is drastically limited, making it actually impossible for community-dwelling patients with neurological disorders to receive prescribed rehabilitation interventions.
Case presentation: A 67-year-old man with two chronic neurological diseases, Parkinson's disease and Multiple Sclerosis, underwent a 4-week inpatient rehabilitation in our hospital. The patient gained significant functional improvements that he maintained over the following months, supported by the continuation of physiotherapy in the domestic environment. Due to a COVID-19 pandemic related interruption of the regular ambulatory rehabilitation for several weeks, the patient’s functional abilities decreased significantly. Thus, the patient was again referred to our hospital for intensive inpatient rehabilitation to regain his physical functioning and mobility capacity. At hospital discharge, the patient improved most of his physical functioning to a pre-pandemic level.
Conclusions: The interruption of a rehabilitation service due to a pandemic-related lockdown can significantly impact the functional abilities of patients with chronic neurological diseases. This case report supports the claim for continuous access to rehabilitation services for all people with rehabilitation needs.