Research by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) has found that people suffering from “long-term Covid” – or from often debilitating systems that can recur for weeks or months after someone nominally recovered from the virus – had more support need Health workers need better information to diagnose and treat the disease.
The NIHR report on Living with Covid-19 also concluded that a number of “fluctuating and multi-system” symptoms may be associated with long-term Covid. A common theme is that symptoms appear in one physiological system only to appear in another system once they have subsided. This can have significant psychological and social repercussions if not handled well, the report said.
According to the report, symptoms involving breathing, brain, heart, kidneys, liver, intestines, and skin can occur for four different reasons. These goods:
- permanent organ damage to the lungs and heart
- Post-Intensive Syndrome
- post-viral fatigue syndrome
- persistent Covid-19 symptoms.
The report states: “The multi-system nature of the ongoing Covid-19 means that it needs to be viewed holistically (both in the provision of services and in research).
“Because of the different levels of dependency, community support should be considered alongside the hospital’s one-stop clinics. Social support must be understood along with the financial pressure on previously economically active people.
“One of the main obstacles is the lack of consensus on diagnostic criteria for ongoing treatment for Covid-19. A work diagnosis recognized by health services, employers, and government agencies would facilitate access to much-needed support and provide the basis for planning appropriate services. While it is too early to give a precise definition, guidance is needed to achieve a working diagnosis and code for clinical records. ”
The institute concluded that many questions remain open about the long-term effects of Covid-19, including:
- What are the risk factors, and therefore who is most at risk of having long-term problems?
- What effects does living together with Covid-19 have on families and carers? How can social support, including from volunteer organizations, help?
- What is the financial pressure on previously economically active people?
- An acute Covid 19 infection has already disproportionately affected certain parts of the population. Is this reflected in the ongoing Covid-19?
The research was based on interviews with 14 members of a long Covid support group on Facebook, as well as recently published studies.
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