Treatment for long-term effects of COVID-19
Many survivors of the novel coronavirus continue to struggle with physical, cognitive and mental health issues, long after testing positive for the disease. These symptoms can last for weeks or months. Physical complications post-COVID may include impairments in cardiovascular and pulmonary function, muscle strength, endurance, as well as increased joint pain and difficulty walking—all of which can lead to loss of function and loss of independence. Other symptoms include cognitive disorders such as brain fog, memory loss and trouble concentrating.
The term "long-hauler" is often used to describe patients with lingering symptoms of COVID-19. To address these complex challenges, Main Line Health offers a personalized program for post-COVID patients, which includes a multi-disciplinary approach to care, specialist referrals and rehabilitation services.
Who is eligible for the Post-COVID Recovery Program?
Patients who have had a positive laboratory diagnosis of COVID-19 and continue to experience health issues at least 30 days following the positive test results are eligible for this program.
Which symptoms do we address?
Patients who are recovering from COVID-19 may experience a wide range of health issues. For some, the long-term problems are nothing like the original symptoms they experienced when first diagnosed. The most common long-hauler symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath during normal activities
- Weakness or inability to exercise at pre-COVID-19 levels
- Chronic fatigue
- Body aches and joint pain
- Difficulty speaking
- Skin disorders
- Memory loss or brain fog
- Trouble concentrating or carrying out tasks
- Slowed mental processing
- Difficulty driving
- Trouble finding words
- Sleep disorders
- Depression or anxiety
- Fear of isolation
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Multidisciplinary post-COVID recovery services
Our outpatient program will provide several services based on each patient's individual need. Our multidisciplinary team includes physiatrists, neuropsychologists, psychologists, medical specialists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech language pathologists and case managers. If the patient does not have a specialist, we are able to make referrals to cardiology, pulmonology, dermatology, gastroenterology, infectious disease, primary care and ENT, all of whom are part of our multi-disciplinary team. We communicate with and work closely with the patient's primary care team to create a successful care plan.
Our program includes:
A patient may be referred to the program directly by their primary care physician or specialist provider or they may require an evaluation by a physiatrist(doctor of physical medicine) to assess their overall needs. When the patient calls the main number, a nurse case manager and/or a nurse practitioner will collect intake information and assist in triaging to the appropriate care.
- Physical therapy will conduct evaluations and design a treatment plan to address deficits in strength, balance, issues related to vertigo, endurance, joint pain, headaches, neurological dysfunction, and fatigue. As appropriate, a comprehensive exercise program will be developed to progress the patient at a pace that is individualized and appropriate to their condition.
- An occupational therapist will work with patients having difficulty with activities of daily living, including eating, bathing, dressing and toileting and help patients return to household, occupational, and leisure activities.
- A speech language pathologist will assist with any swallowing and cognitive impairments including brain fog, short-term memory loss, word finding problems, voice control and reduced concentration
- Behavioral health services will conduct a neuropsychological evaluation for neurocognitive impairments and affective symptoms that may impact recovery. Individual and group psychology sessions will be offered to address behavioral health needs and psychological impact of COVID-19 on recovery.
- Specialists will treat the patient for the condition that they were referred ensuring that care is well coordinated among all team members.
- Fitness programming will be offered, when appropriate, to help participants maximize their level of physical fitness for the long-term. Under the constant supervision a nationally accredited personal trainer, participants will progress through a structured 8-week exercise program designed to help those recovering from COVID-19 optimize their quality of life through increased flexibility, strength and endurance.
Both virtual visits and in-person outpatient rehabilitation are available.
Connecting you to the expertise of Main Line Health
As part of Main Line Health, Bryn Mawr Rehab connects you to the programs and services of Lankenau Medical Center, Bryn Mawr Hospital, Paoli Hospital and Riddle Hospital — among the region's most trusted and recognized hospitals. COVID-19 has been shown to affect the respiratory system and has been linked with loss of smell or taste, headaches and increased risk of heart disease, kidney problems, stroke, diabetes and more. Our team at Bryn Mawr Rehab will communicate with your primary care physician and/or existing specialist regarding your care and if necessary, coordinate referrals for care with other specialists from Main Line Health.