On Sunday, NHS England announced the launch of a new COVID-19 rehabilitation service called "Your COVID Recovery", which offers people who have survived the virus but still suffer complications — such as difficulty breathing or with their mental health — access to physiotherapists, nurses, and mental health specialists either online or over the phone.
"Evidence shows that many of those survivors are likely to have significant ongoing health problems, including breathing difficulties, enduring tiredness, reduced muscle function, impaired ability to perform vital everyday tasks, and mental health problems such as PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), anxiety, and depression," says NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens. "The online portal will help ensure that people get the support they need to recover from the effects of the virus, including those associated with spending a long time on ventilation, while reducing the need to physically attend appointments for many."
The service is launching in two phases. The first, launching later this month, is "providing the latest advice on recovering from the virus, which will be available to all and continually improved and added to." And the second is launching later this summer (no specific date has been given yet) and will give access to "personalised support packages", which is currently still in development by experts based in Leicester.
In an effort to not create a service with a "one-size-fits-all approach", patients signing up to "Your COVID Recovery" will first attend a face-to-face assessment — which will include a walking test — to help give each person personalised care and give the support necessary to their specific needs.
The "Your COVID Recovery" service will include:
- Access to a local clinical team including nurses and physiotherapists who can respond either online or over the phone to any enquiries from patients
- An online peer-support community for survivors — particularly helpful for those who may be recovering at home alone
- Exercise tutorials that people can do from home to help them regain muscle strength and lung function
- Mental health support
NHS England's "Your COVID Recovery" service comes after the building of the Seacole rehabilitation centre, a centre for those most affected by the virus, with the promise of similar facilities opening across the country. The aim with the rehabilitation service is to tackle the ongoing, long-term effects that coronavirus has on sufferers, while continuing to deal with new cases on the frontline.