While Victoria continues to celebrate no new cases of COVID-19 in well over a month, some of the thousands of Victorians who contracted a coronavirus infection are still experiencing the debilitating effects of what is known as ‘long COVID’.
Lasting symptoms of this condition include respiratory problems, chronic fatigue, muscle and joint pain, loss of smell and taste, and impaired mental health.Thankfully, the rehabilitation programs that are proven to support recovery from a range of diseases can also help people to manage the after-effects of COVID-19.
“It’s estimated that 30-40% of hospitalised COVID-19 patients will have some ongoing problems, such as respiratory difficulties, shortness of breath, as well as cardiac problems,” says Professor John Olver, Director of Rehabilitation at Epworth Richmond.
“The encouraging thing is that we can treat these problems through our highly effective pulmonary and cardiac rehabilitation programs.” Professor Olver says.
“What we’re also seeing is a whole series of neurological problems in some COVID-19 patients and our existing neurological rehabilitation programs can help with those problems too.”
One of the more common symptoms associated with COVID-19 is a loss of smell and taste. For patients experiencing these symptoms after a COVID-19 diagnosis, the olfactory impairment clinic at Epworth can assess and manage the loss of smell and associated changes in taste.
“What people may not realise, is that a loss of smell and taste can be dangerous when it stops an individual from being able to identify a toxic or unsafe smell, such as gas or smoke, or taste when food has gone bad. The olfactory impairment clinic at Epworth helps people to manage these symptoms and live more safely.”
Lasting fatigue is a major problem for people who have experienced COVID-19 and rehabilitation programs can support these patients with reconditioning to restore strength and energy. Psychological symptoms such as anxiety and depression are other after-effects of COVID-19 and have also been associated with Victoria’s prolonged lockdown. For people experiencing these conditions, Epworth Clinic provides mental health support through inpatient and outpatient programs.
Find out more about how Epworth Rehabilitation can support recovery from COVID-19.