- It is estimated that 50 percent of people who have had COVID-19 will experience long-term health problems.
- In a new study, researchers say occupational therapy may improve well-being and quality of life for people with chronic COVID-19.
- Experts say rehabilitation programs can help reduce fatigue and improve the mood of people with the condition.
More than half of people who contract COVID-19 experience some form of long-term health problems after initially recovering from the disease.
Fatigue has been reported as the most common symptom.
A new study finds that occupational therapy can improve the quality of life and overall well-being of people with long-lasting COVID who are living with chronic fatigue.
The findings were presented during a session at the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases.
The research has not yet been reviewed or published.
In their study, researchers from St James’s Hospital in Dublin and Trinity College Dublin in Ireland found that an occupational therapy fatigue management program produced positive improvements in individuals with post-COVID symptoms who said their fatigue was associated with their work, leisure activities and was influencing herself. -Care.
“One of the key roles and skills of occupational therapy is to help people return to their everyday activities,” said Lewis Norris, a study leader and senior occupational therapist at St. James’s Hospital. “We have previously helped people with multiple sclerosis and other conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, learned techniques to manage their fatigue, and realized that we could use that experience to meet the needs of people with chronic fatigue. can do it for.”
The intervention, delivered as three 1.5-hour group therapy sessions over a four-week period, focused on self-management techniques to overcome fatigue, brain fog, sleep hygiene, energy conservation, and speed of activities Was. Exhaustion.
“Energy conservation techniques include addressing the home and community environment to reduce activity demands,” Danielle Durocher, an occupational therapist and owner of Durocher Therapy Services in Arkansas, told Healthline. “Energy conservation can also include addressing time management when planning outings or routines.”
The study found that the occupational therapy intervention was associated with positive changes in fatigue effects and well-being among participants.
“Equipping patients with a number of practical techniques can lead to meaningful improvements in fatigue and quality of life,” Norris said in a press statement. “Patients also worry less about their well-being.”
Other techniques to address chronic fatigue include pursed-lip breathing, which Durocher said can increase overall oxygenation and reduce the physical demands of activities.
Adaptive equipment, such as long-handled dressing equipment and a reacher to help retrieve items without excessive reaching or bending, can also be part of an occupational therapy program for chronic fatigue, he adds.
“To relieve fatigue and shortness of breath with activities, physical and occupational therapists use gradual performance of endurance exercises in a supervised and safe environment,” said Anne Birman, who has authored the Center for COVID-19 Recovery and Development for Athletico Physical Therapy. devised a rehabilitation program, told Healthline. “Pulse oximeters are often used to keep patients in a safe oxygen saturation zone. This will increase the patient’s tolerance towards those activities and help them return to their pre-Covid work levels. ,
“Patients who are experiencing COVID for a long time will benefit from a multi-disciplinary approach including but not limited to physical therapy, recreational therapy, and counseling to address holistic concerns,” Durocher said. “Long-term COVID has as much of an impact on psychosocial factors as no more than physical or medical concerns.”
Maya McNulty, a long-distance COVID patient and advocate for better treatment, told Healthline that a combination of occupational, physical and vestibular therapy (which focuses on dizziness, vertigo, balance, posture and vision) can help address multiple has been effective in Her symptoms, which include both cognitive and physical impairment.
“These three treatments together really help with chronic fatigue and give hope along with reducing the toll COVID has left,” she said.
The researchers said the findings suggest that occupational therapy should be included in post-COVID recovery programs.
“There is an urgent need to find new and better ways to manage post-Covid fatigue and its widespread and in some cases devastating impact on people’s lives,” Norris said.
D., a rehab specialist and medical director of UT Southwestern’s COVID Recovery Program in Texas. Surendra Barshikar, “Most of the specialized centers for long term COVID treatment already have these programmes.” “We know that such interventions work. This study validates our findings and motivates us to conduct systematic research and disseminate the findings, which will help healthcare providers and patients who have special long-term health problems.” No access to COVID programs.”