Around 250 Long Covid patients were seen last July (credit: BHRUT)
Some patients suffer from breathing difficulties, fatigue, depression, anxiety and hair loss weeks after catching Covid-19.
They will be referred to the clinic by their GP and during their first appointment they will meet a team of specialists.
A respiratory consultant, clinical psychologist, physiotherapist and occupational therapist will all determine whether the patient needs medical interventions or focused therapy-led care.
“At that first appointment patients get to spend time with each professional and it allows us to assess what support they need and hopefully provide them with the help they need in their on-going recovery,” said Dr Adam Ainley, a respiratory consultant who oversees the clinic.
“Some patients may continue on just one of those paths, whereas some may need to continue to see all four professions. We can also refer them to other specialties if required.”
After the initial face-to-face consultation at the clinic in King George Hospital, patients may be able to access a range of support either face-to-face or virtually using online resources and mobile applications.
“In line with evolving evidence and global understanding on the impact of Covid-19 in patients, we are continually reviewing other interventions might benefit our patients,” added Dr Adam.
“For example, this week we’re launching a pilot offering virtual Singing for Health sessions.”
Dr Adam explained they recognised a need to support patients with Long Covid straight after the first wave:
“We ran a respiratory post-Covid clinic from July last year, seeing up to 250 patients between six and 12 weeks after their discharge, to review their on-going issues,” said Dr Adam.
“My colleagues and I were supported by our trainees and saw a range of patients with complex issues. This really helped us to be ahead of the game when Long Covid clinics started to be rolled out nationally towards the end of last year.”
The clinic is being launched in partnership with the North East London NHS Foundation Trust.
Debbie Feetham, assistant director of intermediate care for NELFT, added: “Within the Long Covid team we are working on linking our services with local opportunities like, Singing for Health and virtual gym workouts, to provide optimal interventions to better patients’ wellbeing and support their recovery.
“We have had really positive feedback from our early referrals, and are currently working together to make ourselves as widely available as possible.”
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