Cromwell Hospital, Kensington, London, has opened a new long-COVID clinic to help those with on-going symptoms from the virus.
Data by the Office for National Statistic1 estimates that one in 10 people infected with COVID experience symptoms which last for three months or longer, meaning many people are struggling to return to their day to day lives.
The new long-COVID clinic provides personalised treatment plans for various physical symptoms, including respiratory issues, fatigue and joint or muscle pain, as well as patients’ mental health.
The clinic, led by a team of consultants who specialise in treating respiratory conditions, tailor treatment plans to individual needs and are able to provide onwards referrals to cardiologists, neurologists, specialist respiratory physiotherapists and psychiatrists.
One study, published in the Lancet of 62,354 COVID-19 patients in the USA2, found that 20% developed a mental health problem — like depression, insomnia or anxiety— within three months of diagnosis, and the clinic will support with this throughout a patient’s treatment plan.
Dr Brian O’Connor, Consultant in Respiratory Medicine and the lead for the long-COVID clinic added; “We know people are experiencing ongoing symptoms of COVID-19, from struggling with memory or concentration levels to suffering breathlessness during everyday activities. Our new clinic helps people access the right support for their individual needs.”
Alongside Dr O’Connor, Consultant Psychiatrist Dr Rajeev Dhar is part of the multidisciplinary Long Covid team at Cromwell Hospital. “We established the clinic because, between the various consultants, we recognised we had an increasing number of mutual patients who had symptoms that didn’t add up,” he explains. “You’d have patients with psychological symptoms, such as low-grade levels of anxiety and depression, but they would also display odd physical symptoms such as palpitations or breathlessness when they lay down.
“Covid is a multi-system issue. That means if we’re thinking in a multidisciplinary way, we become more comfortable operating in a holistic way. “The skill lies in understanding the interface between the medicine, the psychiatry and the psychology, between what’s physical and what’s not.”
“Medicine often focuses on treating symptoms,” Dr Dhar explains, “but long Covid has made us think about how we help people to function better. Our approach is now focused on how people are functioning, because that tells us how well we’re managing the symptoms.”
Philip Luce, Hospital Director at Cromwell Hospital said; “There’s a clear need for more support when it comes to long-COVID. Patients are reporting varying symptoms which are preventing them from returning to work and continuing with their daily routines before they contracted the virus.
“I’m delighted that we’ve opened this clinic to support and provide personalised treatment plans for patients struggling with the long-term impact of COVID-19.”
The clinic is open five days per week for either virtual or face-to-face consultations, including comprehensive blood tests, chest x-ray, lung function tests, ECG and echocardiogram.
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