Multidisciplinary outpatient rehabilitation of persistent symptoms of COVID-19:

A prospective, observational cohort study

ALBU, S., ET AL., Disability and Rehabilitation

The findings in a nutshell

Following a COVID-19 infection, most patients expect to make a recovery in weeks. However, there is growing evidence that some patients have persistent symptoms of fatigue, shortness of breath and cognitive impairment, months after infection.

The rapid development of Treatment Guidelines has occurred. This article’s purpose is to evaluate the need for a multidisciplinary outpatient rehabilitation program to prevent or decrease the impact of long term COVID-19 symptoms.

After an 8-week rehabilitation program that involved; physical, cognitive, and respiratory rehabilitation protocols, the outcome demonstrated significant improvement in cognitive function. It also highlighted the need for specifically tailored multidisciplinary programs for post-COVID-19 patients.

Overview of the paper

An increasing body of evidence is identifying some patients post-COVID-19 will have ongoing and persistent symptoms. These symptoms include fatigue, shortness of breath (dyspnea), and cognitive impairments. Research demonstrates that most patients recover in a matter of weeks. However, there are approximately 15% of post-COVID-19 patients who experience symptoms for at least three months.

The rapid development of guidelines for treating long term COVID-19 symptoms has encouraged clinical screening of the patient and the development of a specifically tailored multidisciplinary program. General recommendations include interventions focusing on functional impairment, disability and return to life.

The authors of this article investigated COVID-19 patients with long-term symptoms and provided a rehabilitation program.

The researchers developed an 8-week program that included physical, cognitive and respiratory rehabilitation protocols. The results identified effective improvement in the patients’ physical and respiratory measures, whilst there was also a significant improvement in the cognitive functions.

Implications for Australian workplaces

Over time COVID-19 will be better understood and treatment, vaccines and rehabilitation programs will continue to be optimised and improved.

With the current evidence we have on hand, we would suggest educating your staff, clients, or communities on the importance of post-COVID-19 rehabilitation. Having the awareness prior may assist with compliance to the rehabilitation program and prevent long term absences from the workplace.

To find out more about Multidisciplinary outpatient rehabilitation of physical and neurological sequelae and persistent symptoms of COVID-19: a prospective, observational cohort study read the full article here.

Date published: September 2021

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