Covid-19 patients who have long-term problems with breathing, mental health problems or other complications from the virus will be able to access an on-demand rehabilitation service.
Nurses and physiotherapists will reply to patients’ queries either online or over the phone as part of the service. There will also be exercise tutorials that people can do from home to help them regain muscle strength and lung function in particular, and access to an online peer-support community for survivors – particularly helpful for those who may be recovering at home alone.
Mental health support includes a psychologist within the online hub or referral into NHS mental health services along with information on what to expect post-Covid.
Following this initial assessment, those who need it will be offered a personalised package of online-based aftercare lasting up to 12 weeks, available later this Summer.
New rehab centre for long-term Covid patients
A new Seacole rehabilitation centre to help those most seriously affected by the virus has also been opened. It will include access to a face-to-face consultation with the local rehabilitation team, usually comprising of physiotherapists, nurses and mental health specialists. Similar facilities expected to open across the country
Evidence shows that many of those survivors are likely to have significant on-going health problems, including breathing difficulties, enduring tiredness, reduced muscle function, impaired ability to perform vital everyday tasks and mental health problems such as PTSD, anxiety and depression.
The online portal will help ensure that people get the support they need to recover from the effects of the virus, including those associated with spending a long time on ventilation, while reducing the need to physically attend appointments for many.
The first phase of the service will launch later this month, providing the latest advice on recovering from the virus, which will be available to all and continually improved and added to.
The second phase, in which people who need it will be able to access personalised support packages, is in development by experts based in Leicester and will be made available later in the summer.
In order to access this part of the site, patients will first attend a face-to-face assessment, which may include a walking test, to help personalise care and ensure people get the type of support and rehabilitation specific to their need, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach.
For those who need ongoing care, they will be given a log-in to the new online site, which will be accessible from any web-enabled phone, tablet, television or computer.
Impact of Covid on people can be far reaching and complex
Where patients don’t already have access to a suitable device to use the online platform, printed materials will be made depending upon demand to ensure the service is accessible to all.
Professor Sally Singh with a team from University Hospitals of Leicester NHS has been working with national clinical leaders to build the service and is now working with the NHS nationally to roll it out across the country.
She said: “We know the impact of Covid on people can be far reaching and complex, ‘Your COVID Recovery’ is specifically designed to support people in their recovery post-coronavirus, this will be one of the first sites in the world rolled out nationally seeking to address potential post-Covid symptoms and support people on the road to recovery.
“We have brought together a wide range of experts representing a number of professional societies who have made valuable contributions to the site, to allow us to have a comprehensive package of information and advice. Importantly we have worked with people with first-hand experience of Covid to help shape the site and make sure the content was fit for purpose."