REHABILITATION FOLLOWING COVID-19 INFECTION
The emergence of the novel COVID-19 virus in late 2019 means that we understood very little about the virus, however, there has been an acceleration in our understanding of COVID-19 since that time. We now have a better understanding of the impact of COVID-19 on multiple body systems and, in particular, a profound deconditioning and fatigue that can last for extended periods post-viral infection; a condition now known as ‘Long-Covid’. Importantly, our knowledge and experience of other, more common, viral infections (i.e. Influenza) provides guidance for how best to structure rehabilitation and return to normal life following infection. A graduated return to physical activity (exercise) is of upmost importance ensuring a minimum 7-days symptom free period prior to starting a programme of exercise (Elliot et al., 2020). Adopting a progressive programme of exercise, as that prescribed by longcovid.support, is important to provide sufficient time for recovery and adaptation to take place. To that end, it may take weeks to months to return to full physical function. Accordingly, longcovid.support is an 18-week long programme of support leading to further promotion of physical activity/exercise in the long-term. *For those with other medical conditions (i.e. diabetes, cardiovascular disease, renal disease), medical assessment prior to starting the programme is strongly advised (Elliott et al. 2020).
The NHS has begun to provide services for long-covid, however, with an unprecedented level of demand on the health service, the aim of longcovid.support is to compliment and support the services provided by the NHS through our on-line platform. Virtual rehabilitation (i.e. longcovid.support) has the additional advantage of continuing rehabilitation support without increasing the risk of virus exposure (Choon-Huat et al., 2020).
Whyte, G. et al. Musculoskeletal and Physical Therapy for COVID-19 Patients in ICU and Beyond. The Intensive Care Society, National Post-Intensive Care Collaborative 2020 https://ics.ac.uk/ICS/ICS/Pdfs/COVID-19/Musculoskeletal_and_physical_therapy_for_COVID-19_patients_in_ICU_and_beyond.aspx
Responding to COVID-19 and Beyond: A Framework for Assessing Early Rehabilitation Needs Following Treatment in Intensive Care. The Intensive Care Society, National Post-Intensive Care Collaborative 2020 https://ics.ac.uk/ICS/ICS/GuidelinesAndStandards/Framework
Elliot et al. Infographic. Graduated Return to Play Guidance Following COVID-19 Infection. Br J Sports Med 2020
Choon-Huat et al. How Should the Rehabilitation Community Prepare for 2019-nCOV? Archives of Phys Med Rehab 2020; 101:1068-1071.
Return to play following COVID-19 infection PDF
Graduated return to play guidance following COVID-19 infection
Rehab COV-19 PDF
How Should the Rehabilitation Community Prepare for 2019-nCoV
Musculoskeletal and physical therapy for COVID-19 PDF
The consequences of critical illness on neuromuscular function are well document.
ICS Framework for assessing early rehab PDF
A framework for assessing early rehabilitation needs following treatment in intensive care