The long term implications of COVID-19 are becoming apparent

29 Jun 2020

We have become increasingly aware, over the past few months, that the symptoms of COVID-19 are wider ranging than initially thought.

A recent article in Reuters has highlighted the full extent of this, and called into question whether we are prepared, as a society, for the rehabilitative process that will be needed by many who have contracted the virus.

The article highlights the lengthy recovery period that many are making, and shares concerns for the impact on the workplace, in families, and for the health service as it supports those with new health challenges as a result of the COVID-19 disease.

Respiratory problems such as coughing and shortness of breath are widely known of, but blood clotting disorders which could cause stroke, extreme inflammation that attacks multiple organ systems including the pancreas, liver and heart, and neurological symptoms such as headache, dizziness and confusion or delirium may be less understood.

The neurological elements of COVID-19 have been particularly noted in older populations, and professionals in care homes have been urged to consider whether confusion or delirium amongst their residents who have dementia is a symptom of the virus rather than a worsening of their overall condition.

Prehabilitation has been encouraged by Neurology Academy faculty members, with multidisciplinary support and information on the modifiable risk factors for a severe response to COVID-19. They have urged those living with a neurological condition to work towards as healthy a lifestyle as possible, changing those factors known to increase the level of severity experienced if a person contracts COVID-19, hopefully reducing the impact on that individual, as well as enabling them to have a more speedy recovery.

Practical short videos to strengthen the respiratory system, either as a preventative measure or for rehabilitation, have also been put together to support the neurological community.

Webinars held within Dementia Academy have addressed this topic and cite some of the early research into this; no doubt, as time passes, we will continue to gain a clearer understanding of this virus, and its implications for our society - not only now, but in the foreseeable future.

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