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BSW Long Covid Rehabilitation Assessment Clinic

BSW Long Covid Rehabilitation Assessment Clinic

What is Long Covid?

Covid disease is an infection caused by a coronavirus. Long Covid is a term to describe the effects of Covid-19 that continue for weeks or months beyond the initial illness. The health watchdog NICE defines long Covid as lasting for more than 12 weeks, although some other people consider symptoms that last more than eight weeks to be Long Covid.

Details of how some people are affected by Long Covid are still emerging, but research suggests around one in five people who test positive for Covid-19 have symptoms for five weeks or longer. For around one in ten people, they last 12 weeks or longer.

These long-term effects are often reported by people who didn’t need to go to hospital during the acute phase of Covid.

Long Covid symptoms commonly experienced by patients we have already assessed include:

  • fatigue
  • breathlessness
  • anxiety and depression
  • palpitations
  • chest pains
  • joint or muscle pain
  • not being able to think straight or focus (‘brain fog’)
  • dizziness
  • persistent cough
  • loss of taste or sense of smell

What is Long Covid rehabilitation assessment clinic?

A team of Physiotherapists, Occupational therapists and Respiratory nurses will work together to assess patients from across Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire to provide a Long Covid rehabilitation assessment clinic.

The clinic is designed to help people who still have symptoms related to a Covid infection after 12 weeks. The aim of the clinic is to identify what symptoms a person is experiencing and how this is affecting them day to day. We help them find resources and/or treatments to manage these symptoms effectively so they can rehabilitate to living a fulfilling life.

How do I get referred to the Long Covid Rehabilitation assessment clinic?

Our team is accepting referrals from your GP using a form they access through your electronic records. To be referred you and your GP will need to confirm it is over 12 weeks since your Covid symptoms started and that you live or your GP is registered within Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon or Wiltshire.  Assessment clinics are for adults; children need to be referred to a paediatrician via their GP.

We ask that your GP includes a summary of a recent blood test and if appropriate chest x-ray results. Your referral is then checked and you will receive notification that it has been accepted. You will then be offered a telephone assessment within 2-8 weeks.

What can I expect if I am referred to the Long Covid clinic?

Our experience has been showing us that each individual needs a Long Covid recovery plan that is personal to them. You can expect to have a conversation with one of our team to reach an agreement of what you need to support your Long Covid recovery. Some people need a short telephone call and direction towards information, others need more input from our team of professionals. Our pathway is as follows;

Telephone Assessment

A 45-60 minute telephone assessment appointment will be offered within 8 weeks or our receipt of your referral this will include discussion of the impact on you of COVID-19, identifying treatment/self-help resources that you have tried and identifying a problem list and key personalised goals. This appointment will be with one of the BSW Assessment team, which is made up of Specialist Physiotherapists and Occupational Therapists.

 Personalised recovery plan

We will ensure we create a personalised treatment plan with you, targeting the areas/problems you find most significant. We will provide you resources to work with. If required we will make referrals to appropriate services to meet these needs.  We will provide you and your GP with a summary of our plan.

Is there anything I can do to help myself?

Managing your Long Covid

There are a number of helpful resources available, please find a list below;

Your COVID Recovery | Supporting your recovery after COVID-19

Long Covid Occupational Therapy (plymouthhospitals.nhs.uk)

Information for the public | COVID-19 rapid guideline: managing the long-term effects of COVID-19 | Guidance | NICE

Managing Fatigue

The Royal College of Occupational Therapists has put together some useful pacing advice to help you slowly build up your activity level.

Managing  Breathlessness

The British Lung Foundation has created some useful resources to explain breathlessness and suggest ways to manage it.
How can I manage my breathlessness?/British Lung Foundation (blf.org.uk)

Post-Covid-Syndrome-breathing-final.pdf (physiotherapyforbpd.org.uk)

Managing your mood response to the impact of Covid

Having Long Covid is very distressing and can often impact your mood, making you feel sad or low or more anxious than usual.

There is support available, you can find the support local to you by following the links below;

Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT)

A talking therapies or online mood management course offered as 1:1 or group depending on your needs.  To self refer contact: Wiltshire – 01380 731335, BaNES – 01225 675150

Least Intervention First Time (LiFT) – Swindon 

A talking therapies or online mood management course offered as 1:1 or group depending on your needs.  To self refer contact: 01793 836836

Self-help booklets for common issues such as stress, sleep, depression, anxiety: Self Help Leaflets – Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (ntw.nhs.uk)

Psychology Tool have produced a couple of free booklets on Post traumatic Stress Disorder and anxiety linked to Covid: Critical Illness Intensive Care And Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) – Psychology Tools

Many people talk to us about the worry of getting Covid again this booklet tackles this issue; Living With Worry And Anxiety Amidst Global Uncertainty – Psychology Tools

This booklet helps you to work through how to do what matters in times of stress: Doing What Matters in Times of Stress (who.int)

A short video on managing anxiety linked to Covid: FACE COVID – How To Respond Effectively To The Corona Crisis – YouTube

Managing Vertigo

A link to a booklet you can download with information about vertigo and how to manage it  https://www.brainandspine.org.uk/our-publications/booklets/dizziness-and-balance-problems/

Managing Tinnitus (ringing in your ears)

The British Tinnitus Association explains what tinnitus is and some ways to manage it
Covid-19 guidance for people with tinnitus | British Tinnitus Association

Managing loss of taste or smell

The NHS has provided some information and ideas for how to help your recovery aimed at people who have lost or have a changed sense of taste or smell.

Building up exercise

The Chartered Society of physiotherapy has put together some advice on building up strength, managing breathlessness and pacing up activity
Covid-19: the Road to Recovery (csp.org.uk)

You can self-refer for support with a health trainer

Swindon Area: You can self refer or can ask your GP Contact the Live Well Swindon Hub | Swindon Borough Council

Wiltshire Area: Ask your GP to refer you GP referral – Wiltshire Council

BaNES Area: As your GP to refer you Exercise Referral | Bathnes

Support with work issues

If you need more information on sick leave please visit the following websites

Taking sick leave – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Sickness and absence because of long COVID: Long COVID – advice for employers and employees – Acas

More information when planning return to work

Returning To Work | Your COVID Recovery

Returning to work after absence: Absence from work – Acas

Other charities, services that you may find helpful

The Samaritans call free on : 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org

The SANE Mental Health helpline: 0845 767 8000
The Mental Health helpline offers emotional support and information to those experiencing mental health difficulties, their families and carers. Available 6pm-11pm 7 days per week.

Call the NHS 111 service: 111 (free from a landline or mobile)
Call 111 when you need medical help fast but it’s not a 999 emergency. Available 24 hours a day

If you are worried about the safety of a child:
Call the NSPCC helpline: 0808 800 5000

If you are experiencing domestic violence :
Call the National Domestic Violence helpline:  0808 2000 247