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23rd May 2023 COVID-19

Intervention program for 'Long COVID'

Long COVID stock

People living with debilitating ‘long COVID’ will trial a rehabilitation intervention program in the hope of improving their symptoms and quality of life.

It is estimated up to 10% of people develop the condition following COVID-19 infection, affecting millions globally and in Australia.

Symptoms include fatigue, breathlessness and ‘brain fog’, often impacting on quality of life, everyday functioning and the ability to work. But there is little evidence available on how to best treat long COVID.

With the help of a SALHN Enquiry Grant co-funded by The Hospital Research Foundation Group and Flinders Foundation, rehabilitation consultant Dr Subbuh Luker (pictured) will trial an intervention program on patients from the Southern Adelaide Local Health Network’s long COVID clinic who have confirmed or suspected long COVID.

The program, called ‘Take Charge’ and which has had past success with stroke patients, involves individual sessions with a trained allied health staff member, with changes in symptoms measured at set intervals for signs of improvement.

“Unlike traditional self-management programs that focus on symptom management, Take Charge aims to shift focus away from the disease and symptoms enabling the individual to focus on their sense of purpose, personal identity and hopes for the future,” Dr Luker explains.

“There is a significant risk that individuals with long COVID will continue to experience debilitating symptoms and remain out of the workforce, so it’s imperative we focus our efforts on investigating interventions that may improve outcomes for this group of patients.”

Dr Luker said the recruitment for the trial was expected to start in July.

The project is one of 23 exciting new research projects to share in the $1 million SALHN Enquiry Grant round, thanks to your generous support, and a collaboration between Flinders Foundation and The Hospital Research Foundation Group.