An online recovery service for those who are suffering from long-term effects of coronavirus has been launched by the NHS.
Nurses and physiotherapists will be able to reply to patients’ needs either online or over the phone as part of the ‘Your Covid Recovery’ service.
Patients who have been in hospital or suffered at home with the virus will have access to a face-to-face consultation with their local rehabilitation team, usually comprising of physiotherapists, nurses and mental health specialists.
Following this initial assessment, those who need it will be offered a personalised package of online-based aftercare lasting up to 12 weeks.
This will include:
- Access to a local clinical team including nurses and physiotherapists who can respond either online or over the phone to any enquiries from patients
- An online peer-support community for survivors – particularly helpful for those who may be recovering at home alone
- Exercise tutorials that people can do from home to help them regain muscle strength and lung function in particular
- Mental health support, which may include a psychologist within the online hub or referral into NHS mental health services along with information on what to expect post-Covid
Sir Simon Stevens, NHS chief executive, said: “As we celebrate the birthday of the NHS and look ahead to the next phase of our response, while in-person care will continue to be vital, the health service is embracing the best that new technology can offer us to meet the significant level of new and ongoing need.
“Rolling out Your Covid Recovery, alongside expanding and strengthening community health and care services, is another example of how the NHS must bring the old and the new together to create better and more convenient services for patients.”
The launch of the portal follows evidence showing that many survivors are likely to have significant on-going health problems, including breathing difficulties, enduring tiredness, reduced muscle function, impaired ability to perform vital everyday tasks and mental health problems such as PTSD, anxiety and depression.
The online portal will help ensure that people get the support they need to recover from the effects of the virus.
The first phase of the service will launch later this month, providing the latest advice on recovering from the virus, which will be available to all and continually improved and added to.
The second phase, in which people who need it will be able to access personalised support packages, is in development by experts based in Leicester and will be made available later in the summer.
In order to access this part of the site, patients will first attend a face-to-face assessment, which may include a walking test, to help personalise care and ensure people get the right type of support and rehabilitation specific to their needs, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach.
For those who need ongoing care, they will be given a log-in to the new online site, which will be accessible from any web-enabled phone, tablet, television or computer.
Rehabilitation professionals will be able to access their patient’s data to enable remote care and monitoring, ensuring that anyone who might need further face-to-face checks or treatment can get it.