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 the 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;

Interested in advancing our understanding of long COVID?

Oxford University is recruiting people with long COVID to a trial investigating the role of the brain and brainstem in breathlessness. They are looking to recruit people who are breathless at present, have been breathless during their COVID experience and people who have not had any breathlessness as part of Long Covid. If you are interested in advancing our understanding of long COVID please read the  following patient information leaflets and contact Oxford University directly via breatheOxford@fmrib.ox.ac.uk


PARTICIPANT INFORMATION SHEET (OXFORD) – Brain and Brainstem Basis of COVID-19 Virtual Reality Substudy

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