‘Long-term’ Covid patients see some relief in 4-week treatment program

A protester holds a sign calling for COVID-19 research during a protest in the United Kingdom in March.

A protester holds a sign calling for COVID-19 research during a protest in the United Kingdom in March.
picture: Martin Pope / SOPA Images / LightRocket (Getty Images)

The results of a small study this week may offer some hope for people with prolonged symptoms after a case of COVID-19. The study found that COVID-19 patients who participate in Ireland’s rehabilitation programme, which is conducted online, have seen a significant improvement in how fatigue affects their health and daily functioning.

There’s a lot we still aren’t sure of when it comes to the tall virus, from its possible causes to how often it occurs (estimates range from single numbers to more than 25% of COVID-19 cases). And we know a little bit about the best ways to help people with it recover.

There is a custom Covid clinics long In the United States and elsewhere, patients can be given treatments such as physical therapy, counseling, and medication to manage other conditions that may have arisen as a result, such as high blood pressure or diabetes. But there is little information about how effective any of these interventions are in improving people’s symptoms or their overall quality of life. new search, Foot This week at the European Conference on Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases presents some preliminary data to this end.

The pilot study included 53 people who reported severe stress related to COVID-19 enough to affect their daily lives. About two-thirds of them had been managing their symptoms for at least 12 weeks to a year after the initial diagnosis of the virus, while a third had had them for more than a year. Nearly three-quarters of them also reported breathing difficulties, and nearly half had cognitive impairment, often known as brain fog.

The rehabilitation program they participated in was developed by occupational therapists at St James’s Hospital and Trinity College in Ireland and has adapted from the interventions they used previously to help patients with multiple sclerosis and other chronic conditions. It included three 90-minute sessions with an occupational therapist over a four-week period, delivered online at the time due to epidemiological precautions. These sessions focused on stress management, sleep hygiene, and training people to recognize the daily limits of their physical and mental energy before their symptoms worsen.

Before and after the program, patients were asked through a questionnaire about their levels of fatigue, well-being and quality of life. By the end of the program, patients generally reported an improvement in how they felt and how their symptoms affected their lives.

“Initial results from our pilot program are very promising,” said senior study author Louise Norris, an occupational therapist at St. James’s Hospital in St. James. statment From the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases. “It shows that providing patients with a range of practical techniques can lead to meaningful improvements in fatigue and quality of life. Patients also have less concern about their health.”

These results come from a small sample size and have not yet been peer-reviewed, so they should be taken with extra caution. The intervention does not necessarily treat the root cause of the symptoms, which may include persistent infection or autoimmune impairment caused by the original infection. The researchers noted that it may help restore people’s ability to lead a functional life while dealing with their disease. And with the promising results from their pilot study now in hand, they’re already beginning to collect additional data from more patients — data that may one day show that these types of programs can be widely used to help patients find some semblance of normalcy again. .

“There is an urgent need to find new and better ways to deal with post-virus fatigue and its widespread, and in some cases devastating, effects on people’s lives,” Norris said.

Read more: The challenges of dismantling Long Covid

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