The role of the technology is to increase the number of patients getting high-quality treatment simultaneously and remotely across all aspects of the condition.
What is Long-Covid?
Long-Covid is the name given to an illness that can last many months after someone has Covid-19. People may have a mixture of symptoms that vary day to day including fatigue, “brain fog”, breathless or low mood and anxiety. It’s estimated that anywhere between 1 in 10 to 1 in 4 people may develop it.
What help is there for Long-Covid?
Our approach has combined treatments into a special programme to help people with symptoms using an App. This App helps patients work with a nurse or physiotherapist to ease symptoms, track progress and lets them ask questions and send messages.
What is the Living With Covid Recovery Programme?
The programme called the – Living With Covid Recovery Programme - has several parts. The App part is used by the patient to follow treatments and measure progress. As well as the App, an assigned nurse or physiotherapist uses a computer ‘dashboard’ to track patients’ health and progress, to message them, and adapt their care to fit them. Lastly, there is a wider NHS team that touch base with patients if they need it. This is part of a care pathway that can be adapted to fit local needs and NHS resources.
How do patients get to use the Programme?
Patients with long lasting symptoms would normally go through their GP. The GP will then refer the patient a Long-Covid clinic. A senior doctor at the clinic will go through some questions with the patient about symptoms and then put them onto the Living With Covid Recovery Programme, making sure the programme is right for the patient and their symptoms. Then an NHS physiotherapist (or nurse) will help co-create a recovery plan and show the patient how to use the App. They will keep in touch with them regularly to help with exercise and treatments and offer support. Patients can be referred to long-covid clinics from Primary or Secondary care.
What’s the benefit of using the Programme?
Pilot studies in London have shown it helps NHS staff manage large caseloads of patients safely and well. It also offers supported recovery for patients. The programme is currently supporting over 430 patients in over 15 clinics across Barts Health NHS Trust, Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust, Solent NHS Trust, Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust, Isle of Wight NHS Trust and more. The software is offered under a license agreement.
How was it designed?
The Programme is the result of cooperation between several universities, the NHS, patients and the software developer Living With Ltd. Living With was established by someone with a long term condition who wanted to see more support for people. It has been essential to involve patients in the design of the programme.
The treatments and exercises used are all well established in the NHS and used to treat individual symptoms. The Programme combines these tried and tested treatments to break down some of the symptoms which can be linked. The Programme is part of a research project funded by the National Institute for Health Research.