First Community’s Covid-19 Rehab Team highly commended at the Kent, Surrey and Sussex Academic Health Science Awards

Published on Wednesday 30 June 2021
Covid-19 Rehabilitation Team

First Community’s Covid-19 Rehabilitation Team were highly commended in the Respiratory Quality Improvement category at the Kent, Surrey and Sussex (KSS) Academic Health Science Network (AHSN) Awards 2021.

The KSS AHSN Awards celebrate healthcare excellence across Kent, Surrey and Sussex focussing on collaborations, partnerships and innovations that help the regions accelerate their response to the NHS Long Term Plan.

First Community, which celebrates its 10th anniversary in October, first launched its service to support patients requiring multi-disciplinary rehabilitation following Covid-19 in May 2020. The service developed the Long Covid Pathway in January 2021 in line with updated guidance published by NHS England and Improvement.

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 work together to support these needs and help patients recover at home.

The Covid-19 Rehabilitation Pathway also works to ensure patients don’t stay in hospital longer than they need to and, when needed, are offered longer-term follow up treatment and support for respiratory complications, fatigue management, pacing and exercise tolerance to help improve their quality of life.

From the start of the pandemic to date, the team have received 470 referrals to the service and patients’ health outcomes have been measured at various stages throughout their recovery. Outcomes are measured from the initial screening stage through to six months using different methods such as assessments and questionnaires. 

Results so far have showed that patients have been able to resume some of their usual daily activities and showed a reduction in anxiety, depression and fatigue.

The service has received outstanding feedback from colleagues in the Intensive Care Unit at East Surrey Hospital.  

One colleague from East Surrey Hospital said: “It’s of great comfort to know that the patients we have looked after during their critical care stay are given the best chance of reaching their rehabilitation potential once home.”

The service received 100% positive Friends and Family Test feedback in April 2021, with comments from patients including:

‘Fantastic – no other words’

‘Couldn’t have asked for more’

‘They checked me twice a week and I felt I was in safe hands’.

Janet Clark, Service Manager for Long Term Condition Support Services was thrilled when the team were highly commended and said:  “I am beyond proud of my team for everything they have done to support patients who are recovering at home after being treated for Covid-19.  It’s so well deserved and a credit to them all for making the rehabilitation pathway such a success.

“I’m so pleased the team have been externally recognised for all their hard work and for this to happen as we celebrate 10 years of delivering outstanding care to patients in east Surrey, makes it even more special. It’s great to see how well primary, community and secondary care have all worked together to help patients recover.”

The service continues to review how patients are supported and is always looking to develop new, innovative ways to care for patients who require ongoing support following Covid-19 . Recently, they delivered a virtual Fatigue Management Programme and provided patients with information to help improve vocational rehabilitation. The team is also working closely with the Inclusion Health team and 0-19 team to support and establish rehabilitation pathways for affected patients in these groups. 

The Quality Improvement Award was presented to the team at a virtual awards ceremony held by the Respiratory Collaborate on 29 June.