First Community launch new service to support patients following COVID-19

Published on 21/05/2020

First Community launch new service to support patients following COVID-19

On 18 May 2020 First Community Health and Care launched a new service to support patients that require multi-disciplinary rehabilitation following COVID-19.

It was identified that specific treatment was needed for conditions such as  musculoskeletal problems, fatigue, shortness of breath, severe pulmonary / respiratory problems, decrease in mobility, and upper limb weakness post COVID-19 infection.  The new service has created a team of health care professionals who will work together to support these needs and help patients recover at home.

The new pathway also facilitates appropriate timely discharges from hospital  wards and offers longer-term follow up for respiratory complications, fatigue management, pacing and exercise tolerance to  that will help improve the quality of life for patients. 

There were various teams involved in the planning and launch of the post-covid rehabilitation team including stroke, respiratory, physiotherapy services and collaborative working with consultants and discharge teams from Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust.

The team are working cooperatively and flexibly to support patient needs and have embraced different ways of working, including the use of remote patient reviews. They have adapted their normal way of working by using virtual technology to support communication with patients and team members and are operating a really comprehensive triage system to identify patient needs and the most appropriate disciplines to meet those needs.

Everyone is working across traditional team boundaries to ensure that patients receive the best care and that all of the clinical skills within the team are utilised.

Many patients are going home from hospital, eager to be discharged, but are finding themselves overwhelmed when they return home.The new service enables patients to manage their condition at home independently and supports them in the short term and if needed in the longer term which will improve their overall health and well-being. 

Janet Clark, Service Manager Long Term Condition Support Services shared her reflections following the launch of the new service and said:It’s been a great opportunity to be able to come up with a pathway and model to support patients who are returning to their homes or are recovering at home following a very stressful time after being treated for COVID.  So little is known about the effects of this virus both in the short term and the long term and being able to set up a team to support this in a very short space of time has been both a challenge but very exciting.  All the teams have worked together across First Community and Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust to pull together this piece of work in a very short space of time.  We hope to learn from our experiences and be able to share with others both local and nationally.  I want to thank everyone involved for being open and receptive to taking on a huge challenge and working through every obstacle to come up with a pathway that is based on an already successful stroke early supported discharge model.”