Physios4ME blog post: Post Covid-19 Rehabilitation, May 2020
During this national crisis many physiotherapists have been redeployed to front-line services, but as time goes on our attention will shift to the rehabilitation of survivors.
COVID-19 is a new virus so rehabilitation can only be based on generalised experiences. Universal presentation after a period of critical illness includes significant muscle loss and impaired cognitive function, with the standard approach to addressing such deconditioning involving mobilisation and exercise. Once medically fit many patients will be discharged home as quickly as possible, with community teams picking up the remainder of the rehabilitation process.
It is vital for physiotherapists (and any other treating health professional) to understand a potential complication of a viral infection – Post Viral Fatigue Syndrome (PVFS).
Swift identification of PVFS is important because the management techniques differ to the typical reconditioning approach that a physiotherapist may adopt. PVFS has strong links with development of ME, which is why we have taken particular interest in getting these messages out there to our colleagues.
The ME Association have produced a guide on management of PVFS, which we would highly recommend. The guide can be found here.
Inappropriate management advice is already out there, and together with our allies we have already challenged one such publication. More about that, and why inappropriate management can be so detrimental, can be read here.
This management advice has been prepared in conjunction with medical experts at the ME Association and the exercise physiologists at the Workwell Foundation.
As Covid-19 is a new virus, more may well be learned about the recovery process and secondary complications, and we will endeavor to update this information as and when appropriate.