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Self-management for patients with suspected ‘long COVID’

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The long-term consequences of COVID-19 The long-term consequences of COVID-19 pose unprecedented challenges for the UK healthcare system

Around 80% of people who experience the mild or moderate symptoms of COVID-19 usually recover within 2-6 weeks.1,2 However, some people become critically ill with acute respiratory disease (ARDS) and require the support of a mechanical ventilator3.

While much is still unknown about the long-term effects of COVID-19, accumulating evidence suggests patients who become critically ill with ARDS can experience long-term health effects also known as ‘long COVID’.2 ARDS survivors discharged from the hospital can experience long-term lung, heart, neuromuscular, chronic wound and mental health effects.2

Discharged COVID-19 patients could therefore require respiratory, physical and cardiac rehabilitation, pressure ulcer management or mental health support. While not all discharged COVID-19 patients will require support in all of these areas, it isimportant that appropriate long-term care plans are in place.4Nurses in the community play a key role in managing patients with long-term conditions, and will therefore have an important role in delivering care to these patients.4,5

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