It’s a long road to recovery for many who have contracted COVID-19. In Scotland over 185,000 people have tested positive for the virus, with over 57,000 of these cases recorded within Greater Glasgow and Clyde.
NHSGGC’s Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy teams have created a new online resource to help anyone who is recovering from the virus, having distilled what they have learned from helping people recover both at home and in hospital.
The new self-management resource is available to the public and is aimed at anyone managing the many types of symptoms associated with COVID-19. It also notes the pace of recovery may be slower than expected.
Common symptoms can include: fatigue, breathlessness, reduced exercise tolerance and lack of physical strength. The resource offers advice on recovering from the virus, managing breathlessness, general wellbeing, managing fatigue, exercise programmes and more.
Lynn Glen, Physiotherapist, NHSGGC, said: “We know that the lingering effects of COVID-19 can vary from person to person. We’ve had younger and older patients admitted to wards and intensive care units, some dealing with debilitating fatigue and breathlessness for months after being diagnosed, requiring weeks and months of rehab and physiotherapy input. Other patients may only require physiotherapy input for a shorter period. The length of time recovering from COVID-19 can also vary so we had to find a way to support people at home.
“We wanted to help people get back on their feet, to gain knowledge about the virus, learn how to manage their symptoms and ultimately recover with this new resource.”
Lynn Glen says the impact of COVID-19 on people’s mental health shouldn’t be overlooked. The website provides links to a variety of resources that support mental health, offering advice on improving overall wellbeing, with resources available on things like mindfulness, relaxation techniques and sleeping well.
There is also a dedicated resource for patients with the most severe symptoms who have spent time in intensive care.
Lynn Glen said: “This can be a traumatic and difficult time for both patients and their families. The impact of prolonged ventilation and admission to an ICU can have severe affects on the body, as well as the mind, it can leave some people with a variety of symptoms including anxiety, fatigue, poor exercise tolerance, depression, not wanting to leave the house, avoiding friends, poor memory, poor sleep, pain and weakness. There is a dedicated section for people who are recovering from COVID-19 after being treated in ICU.”
Advice for relatives, carers and loved ones of people who are recovering, who may be facing their own physical and mental health challenges, is also available.
Dave Furniss, Deputy professional Lead for Physiotherapy, NHSGGC, said: “As the short term and long term effects of Coronavirus become more evident, this resource is needed now more than ever for patients, relatives and health care professionals.”
Juliet Harvey, Practice Development Physiotherapist, NHSGGC added: “This Practice Development project was brought together in response to COVID-19 utilising work done by therapist across NHS GGC. I am very grateful to all, in particular Physiotherapist Lynn Glen, Eleanor Duncan, Claire Cox and Gillian Ferguson for the hard work and tenacity in bringing this fantastic resource together with the support from the web team.”