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What is Long COVID?

For some people, COVID-19 can cause symptoms that last weeks or months after the infection has gone. This is sometimes called post-COVID-19 syndrome or Long COVID.

How long it takes to recover from coronavirus is different for everybody. Many people feel better in a few days or weeks and most will make a full recovery within 12 weeks. But for some people, symptoms can last longer.

The chances of having long-term symptoms does not seem to be linked to how ill you are when you first get coronavirus.
Public: Online materials
Website resources

We’ve pulled together a webpage that signposts you to useful tips and guides on managing your symptoms and patient stories from local people. Feel free to share this page among your networks and channels:
BCWB | Long-COVID webpage
Other useful websites
  • NHS.uk provide information on symptoms and how to manage them.
  • The national ‘Your COVID recovery’ website has a host of information about managing your symptoms and where to get support from.
  • Long COVID Support have provided a variety of patient resources including information about symptoms, how to manage symptoms and contact details for other services that offer support such as mental health and financial help.
Social media posts
You may like to schedule these posts from your owned accounts:
  1. As you find yourself recovering from #COVID19, you may still be coming to terms with the impact the virus has had on both your body & mind.
    @NHSinBCWB have compiled a list of resources and helpful tips for understanding and recovering from the long-term effects of the virus:
    https://www.blackcountryandwestbirmccg.nhs.uk/your-health-services/coronavirus/long-term-effects-of-covid?utm_source=socialmedia&utm_id=long-covid #LongCOVID
  2. While #COVID symptoms tend to pass quickly for most, there are some who continue to experience long term effects beyond the initial illness – this is known as Long COVID.
    Visit @NHSinBCWB for local help and support: https://www.blackcountryandwestbirmccg.nhs.uk/your-health-services/coronavirus/long-term-effects-of-covid?utm_source=socialmedia&utm_id=long-covid #LongCOVID
  3. Long COVID can happen to anyone who has had COVID-19, even if the illness was mild, or they had no symptoms.
    Resources and tips on your recovery is available from @NHSinBCWB https://www.blackcountryandwestbirmccg.nhs.uk/your-health-services/coronavirus/long-term-effects-of-covid?utm_source=socialmedia&utm_id=long-covid #LongCOVID
Videos

Ruth Williams is the Clinical Lead for Community services in Sandwell. In the video below she talks about the impact of Long COVID.
Ruth Williams | Long-COVID | Youtube
We are also looking to develop an animation with BSL interpreters to outline the symptoms and how to manage Long COVID - we'll keep you updated on progress.
 
Patient Stories

Stephen's story:
When Stephen Gilbert was discharged from Russell’s Hall Hospital after narrowly surviving COVID-19, his battle was far from over.

The 60-year-old fit and strong builder, who used to play golf regularly, is still facing a daily struggle eight months later to carry out simple tasks like making a cup of tea and has to carry an oxygen tank around with him.

Stephen spent 26 days in an induced coma in April and is now working tirelessly with physiotherapists at The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust in a bid to get his old life back. He wants people to know how life-changing the virus can be.

Click here to watch the short video.


Dom's story:
Dom Zabawa, a 39-year-old man from Walsall with autism and severe learning difficulties, contracted COVID-19 in 2020 and is still suffering from the debilitating effects of the virus.

His mother, Pam Zabawa, has spent the last 18 months helping care for her son and is now urging others to take the virus seriously.

Click here to read more about their story and see a short video.
Public: Print materials
A patient advice sheet is available to download and hand to patients experiencing symptoms of Long COVID. Download it here.

An Easy Read guide about Long COVID is also available. Download it here.

Other materials are being developed in other languages and formats and will be available on this toolkit/webpage soon. 
Clinicians: Educational materials
This information was taken from: https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/post-covid-syndrome-long-covid/

The following is a list of resources that have been developed to help clinicians adapt to and learn about Long COVID.
 
Clinicians: Referral pathway
As per NICE/SIGN/RCGP guidance, ‘Long COVID’ is a commonly used term to describe:
  • Ongoing symptomatic COVID-19: signs and symptoms of COVID-19 from 4 to 12weeks;
  • Post-COVID-19 syndrome: signs and symptoms that develop during or after COVID-19 and continue for more than 12 weeks and are not explained by an alternative diagnosis
General practice plays a key role in supporting patients, both adults and children, with long term symptoms of COVID-19. This includes assessing, diagnosing, referring where necessary and longer-term holistic support of patients. These are all part of the essential services provided by practices to their patients.

If a patient needs support to manage their condition at home, there is an advice sheet with exercises to support breathlessness, aches and pains and mental health – download it here. These can be printed and given to patients.

If the patient needs a referral, there are clinics available in:
  • Dudley
  • Sandwell
  • Walsall
  • West Birmingham
  • Wolverhampton
Clinics are evolving and new services are being added/changed regularly. Please check your clinical systems for up to date referral pathways and referral templates.

All services are also offering virtual appointments for phone or video consultations.
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