Barts clinicians develop programme for long-lasting Covid-19 symptoms

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A digital programme to treat the lasting symptoms of Covid-19 has been developed by clinicians from Barts Health in collaboration with UCL researchers and UCL Partners.

A team led by Barts Health clinicians and UCL health researchers have developed a rehabilitation tool with app developers Living With that can be delivered completely remotely.

The tool combines evidence-based methods from physiotherapists, psychologists, dieticians and respiratory physicians to create bespoke treatment plans for each patient. It targets three primary on-going symptoms being reported – fatigue, anxiety and breathing problems.

The tool is an additional aid that complements the existing rehab pathway and patients who do not have access to a smart device will continue to receive traditional printed rehab plans and follow-up.

Dr Paul Pfeffer, respiratory physician at St Bartholomew’s Hospital and Queen Mary University of London, said: “The proportion of people needing further help is really high. We’re finding that half of the patients we discharge from hospital, are still experiencing significant symptoms after three months.

“There are simply not enough resources to reach everyone recovering from Covid-19 who are in need of using traditional models of care, such as face-to-face appointments.

“This tool allows us to provide high-quality treatment to large numbers of patients simultaneously.”

The programme includes an app for patients providing tailored advice, treatment plans and suggested exercises, and also supports clinicians with a dashboard to review patient progress and communicate, and a clinical pathway for how to provide safe, remote support.

The digital tool has been developed by Living With, a digital health company that already delivers a range of remote management products for the NHS.

The app is in use at Barts Health hospitals, with plans to roll out to UCL Partner hospitals in the near future.

For more information visit the Living With website.

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