With the surge of Coronavirus patients that have overwhelmed hospitals across the nation, successful COVID-19 recovery is top of mind. COVID-19 first appeared in December 2019 from Wuhan, China. Doctors and hospital staff have immediately recognized this virus to attack the respiratory system of many. The infection is caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), but due to the lack of research, a full understanding of this disease is still incomplete. As research is rapidly being developed, we are still unclear what the long-term recovery looks like for patients.
In a traditional setting, patients that suffer from injury or illness can receive a positive recovery outcome with post-acute care rehabilitation. So could this method of recovery be useful for individuals who have contracted COVID-19? Rehabilitation in Coronavirus patients has shown to have many benefits. Let’s take a deeper look.
Healthcare Research of COVID-19 Recovery for Patients
Knowledge of the presentation and treatment of COVID-19 is changing very rapidly. The treatments and guidelines that are tracking the illness are being updated almost daily. During this time, all avenues of rehabilitation can be considered a possible method for patient recovery.
Healthcare professionals treating patients with COVID-19 are considering the physical, cognitive, and psychosocial presentation in survivors. Procedures that would be required for each would need to take an individualized approach to be comprehensive in treatment for each. Much of what has been published has been based on expert opinion, not on the direct observation of COVID-19 recovery in patients and treatment trajectories. Papers published early on have come from China and Italy, countries that experienced the virus in its early stages. These insights can help to paint a picture of what longer-term outcomes may look like.
Patients with Exposure to Similar Viruses
The World Health Organization (WHO) has published guidelines of clinical management for those with severe-acute respiratory infection when COVID-19 is suspected. WHO reported that while most people with COVID-19 develop only mild or uncomplicated illness, approximately 14% develop a more severe version of the disease that requires hospitalization and oxygen support, and 5% require admission to an intensive care unit.
Given the lack of epidemiological data on COVID-19 patients requiring rehabilitation, an estimate of the post-acute need for COVID-19 was given through examining similar viruses as reported by the online journal Health Affairs. SARS-CoV, a viral respiratory infection, has similar rates of severe respiratory complications to COVID-19 recovery in patients, albeit a higher fatality rate. In the SARS-CoV epidemic, which occured in the early 2000s, approximately 3% of survivors required inpatient rehabilitation (provided by SNFs), and 46% of patients required any type of rehabilitative service (such as out-patient programs).
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, reports have extrapolated that patients with similar conditions can benefit from treatments such as oxygen therapy and physiotherapy management. Patients suffering from severe-acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), and sepsis, and from those requiring intensive care unit (ICU) care may be in need of other assisted mechanical ventilation.
Physical Representations and Post-Acute Care Exercises
The physical presentations of SARS and MERS are different from that of COVID-19. Patient experiences are not necessarily the same as those of COVID-19 patients. SARS mainly causes respiratory symptoms along with diarrhea, while MERS causes more gastrointestinal and kidney symptoms along with respiratory symptoms. COVID-19 appears to cause a wider variety of symptoms that are related to many body systems like cardiac, kidney, and nervous systems. SARS and MERS are more lethal than COVID-19, with fatality rates of approximately 10% and 36%, respectively.
Recommendations are for post-acute care patients to avoid aggravating respiratory distress during rehabilitation. In order to improve mobility in recovery, improving strength training, balance, and range of motion are recommended. Carrying out light exercise therapy, such as a 6 minute walk test with monitoring, should be assessed. Additionally, early mobilization and physiotherapy should begin in the early phases.
Occupational therapy should also focus on activities of daily living (ADL). Speech-language pathologists should also assess and treat dysphagia and voice impairments resulting from prolonged intubation and may also address respiratory strength and coordination.
South Coast Post Acute Patient-Centered Care
As a premier post-acute care center in Santa Ana, CA, we have a strong commitment to our work and a dedicated spirit of caring within our skilled nursing care community. We believe that even for COVID-19 recovery and along with rehabilitation therapy, education on the importance of living a healthy lifestyle leads to a successful recovery.
Our skilled nursing staff provides a thorough assessment and an individualized, progressive treatment plan, which focuses on function, disability, and return to participation in society. This helps each patient maximize their function and quality of life. Because of this, we’re the recovery center of choice for patients, providers, and caregivers. In a time where health concerns are at an all-time high, our knowledge of medicine and tools can make a difference.
Exceptional, compassionate care; every time, every touch. Contact us today!