A new course to help healthcare professionals treat people with Long Covid has been launched by Dublin City University (DCU).
The first of its kind in Ireland, the ‘Post Covid Syndrome Rehabilitation’ course module will help healthcare professionals prepare for, identify and encourage early intervention at the first signs of symptoms.
Post-Covid Syndrome, or Long Covid, is defined as having symptoms from infection of the Covid-19 virus for more than 12 weeks after the initial infection.
Symptoms can include: breathing difficulties and chest tightness; mood changes; cognitive dysfunction; abdominal pain; rashes; swelling, and 'Covid Toes' (discolouration and swelling of the feet, or sometimes hands.
One in every 10 patients infected with Covid-19 incurs long term effects, according to the WHO.
Dr Susan Kent, co-ordinator of the new course, developed the module with the help and support of Dr Óisín O’Connell, Respiratory Consultant in Bon Secours, Cork, and Dr Damien Lowry, Consultant Psychologist in the Mater Hospital, Dublin.
“The rationale for the development of this course module is as a result of the profound range of residual symptoms experienced by patients who have been infected with the Covid-19 virus,” Dr Kent said.
“The range of symptoms varies from mild to severe or chronic and a worrying aspect is that the biological systems affected appear to be emerging as patients recover and are discharged.
With most diseases, early diagnosis and intervention results in the best outcomes for patients, she said.
“In offering disease information related symptoms and management to a broad range of healthcare professionals we will enable our clinicians to identify, treat/refer as soon as possible to reduce the chronic disease burden for our population.”
The course will also include an element of knowledge on data collection tools that can be used to quantify the extent of the disease during the post-Covid-19 infection stage, to help gain an understanding of the illness and its prevalence in Ireland, which has not yet been collated.