For some people, Coronavirus (COVID 19) can cause symptoms for weeks or months after the infection has gone. This is called Post COVID Syndrome (PCS) or Long COVID. A lot of the symptoms of Long COVID are the same symptoms experienced during the illness itself.
The common symptoms we see include:
- extreme tiredness (fatigue)
- fast beating heart that can be felt though the chest (palpitations)
- brain fog
- ongoing problems with sense of smell and taste
How common is Long COVID?
We don’t yet know the exact amount of people who are experiencing Long COVID, but estimate it to be around 2 million people across the UK. As the numbers of cases rise we also expect to see the numbers of people affected by Long COVID rise too.
What causes Long COVID?
We don’t yet understand why some people experience symptoms longer than others. It is not linked to how unwell you were with the COVID 19 infection.
Post COVID Assessment and Management Service (PCAMS)
Most people’s symptoms get better with time, sometimes with support and assessment by their GP. However, some people who have longer term symptoms might need more specialist help.
The Post COVID Assessment and Management Service can assess and treat patients who are suffering long term symptoms following a COVID-19 diagnosis. The clinic is staffed by a team of healthcare professionals who work across our local hospital and community services. The team will work with you to understand how you are feeling and what can be done to help you to recover.
Referral to the clinic is usually via a health professional, such as a GP or specialist doctor. After assessing your symptoms they can make you an appointment to be seen at the Post COVID Assessment and Management Service and provide you with further information about Long COVID and what you can expect during your recovery.
What happens next?
You will be contacted for an assessment appointment with one of our clinical team. This assessment will be face to face and will look at how your current symptoms are impacting your day to day life. This information will be discussed with the team (which includes specialist physiotherapists, psychologists, GPs and hospital doctors amongst others) and a personalised recovery plan for you will be made. This may include rehabilitation, physiotherapy, further tests, psychology, support with fatigue, group work and peer support. You will be given information from this assessment and your plan of care going forward. This will also be shared with the person who referred to you to the service. This is most likely to be your GP.
Where can I get further information?
COVID-19 can have a long lasting impact on your body and mind. These changes should get better over time, but some aspects of your recovery may take longer than others.
We have developed My COVID Recovery – a booklet that can help you understand what has happened, how you can support your own recovery and what else you might expect as part of that journey.
You may also find these resources helpful:
- Helpline Numbers - Sunderland
- Your Guide to Good Breathing
- Your Guide to Relaxation
- How to Conserve Your Energy
- Activity Diary
- Daily Planner
- Alcohol and You - An NHS Self Help Guide
- Alcohol Support
- A Breathing Guide to Help You Recover From COVID-19
- Your Guide to Cough Control
- Speech and Language Therapy Advice
- Referral to Speech and Language Therapy Long COVID Service
- PCAMS Recovery Group
- PCAMS Fatigue Management Sessions
- Mental Health Self Help Guides