Long-term COVID-19 Rehabilitation May Need Improved Systems

March 2, 2021
Kevin Kunzmann

Surveyed patients discharged from the hospital are reporting respiratory burdens beyond 6 months. Are outpatient facilities equipped to manage COVID-19 long haulers?

A new survey from Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences investigators cast light on recurring COVID-19 symptoms being experienced by hospital-discharged patients 6 months after their infection.

The data, presented at the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) 2021 Virtual Sessions by study author Ben Rossavik, DO, showed significant prevalence of fatigue (52.4%), changes in daily activities due to breathing (52.4%), shortness of breath (47.6%), change in taste and smell (42.9%) and increased much production (38.1%).

In the matter of how such research contributes to the discussion of “long haul” COVID-19, Rossavik spoke with HCPLive on how frequently surveyed patients reported shortcomings in post-discharge physical therapy and rehabilitation.

“And insurance pays for these,” Rossavik said. “But in a lot of ways our model is run, people go there for a period of time, they’re done, they go home, and they’re still complaining about this altered ability to walk around their house.”

Rossavik also spoke on matters of improved resourcing and funding under the new presidential administration to assure health systems and afflicted patients are not supported only for oftentimes successful acute care—but for bolstering the struggling rehabilitation system at a time when long-haul COVID-19 cases may be steadily increasing.

“We could definitely have more help for people for the long term,” Rossavik said . ”Because we’ve never had a situation like this—we’ve had so many people who needed long-term rehabilitation therapies.”


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