NHS COVID patient recovery website launched

A new project to help rehabilitate thousands of patients across the UK who are recovering from COVID-19 has been launched by NHS England in collaboration with NHS Improvement, the University of Leicester, and the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust (UHL).

Led by Professor Sally Singh, Head of Pulmonary and Cardiac Rehabilitation, the Your Covid Recovery website is one of the first such services in the world, It supports patients with ongoing symptoms from coronavirus in their recovery, by creating a health and wellbeing information hub, in addition to a personalised interactive rehabilitation programme designed by health professionals.

Around one in twenty patients are likely to have ongoing health problems after contracting COVID-19, including breathing difficulties, tiredness and cough, reduced muscle function, a reduced ability to undertake physical activity and mental health problems such as PTSD.

Professor Singh said: “We know the impact of COVID-19 on people can be far reaching and complex. We are seeing increasing numbers of patients whose lives have been blighted by residual  symptoms after contracting coronavirus.

“Research estimates that around one in twenty patients will be affected by residual symptoms - it is vital that these patients can access the help they require to make a full recovery. Leicester has played a leading role in pioneering successful online recovery programmes, and I am proud to be working with the NHS on such an important initiative.”

Your COVID Recovery draws from UHL’s previous experience developing and delivering similar rehabilitation programmes, such as Activate Your Heart and Space for COPD as alternatives to face-to-face rehabilitation programmes.

Your COVID Recovery will have two phases. Phase One (launching today) will enable patients and their carers to access further information about recovering post COVID-19. It will provide a holistic approach to health and wellbeing and include information on areas including mental health and wellbeing, physical strength and returning to work.

Phase Two is being developed specifically for patients with prolonged symptoms. These patients will have access to a face-to-face consultation with their local rehabilitation team and will be offered a personalised package of online-based care lasting up to 12 weeks.

The programme will include:

  • A personalised package of care based upon individual symptoms, focusing upon what is important to the individual;
  • Access to a local clinical team, including nurses and physiotherapists who can respond online to enquiries from patients;
  • An online peer-support community for patients, which can be helpful for those who may be recovering alone at home;
  • A physical programme that people can undertake at home to help them regain their previous levels of fitness and muscle strength;
  • Mental health support, which will include advice on symptoms of low mood, frustration and problems with memory and thinking.

The content for the site, and clinical assurance of all content has been provided by an expert advisory group, with the support of patients and carers who have lived experience of COVID-19. Membership of the advisory group includes clinicians from cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation services, allied health professionals and psychological services, and members of the national respiratory working group and the national cardiac rehabilitation expert advisory group, of the national CVD-Respiratory programme.

Sir Simon Stevens, Chief Executive Officer of the NHS said: “COVID-19 has been the biggest challenge in the NHS’s history, and the fact that we have come through the first peak without services being overwhelmed and being able to give expert care to everyone who needed it, is testament all our frontline and support staff.

“Now, as we celebrate the birthday of the NHS and look ahead to the next phase of our response, while in-person care will continue to be vital, the health service is embracing the best that new technology can offer us to meet the significant level of new and ongoing need.

“Rolling out Your COVID Recovery, alongside expanding and strengthening community health and care services, is another example of how the NHS must bring the old and the new together to create better and more convenient services for patients.”