Aiming to tackle the short and long term implications of COVID-19 in patients who have survived the infection, Fortis Hospital, Mulund, Mumbai launched a dedicated ‘post-COVID -19 OPD’.
The post-COVID-19 OPD is based on three key pillars: clinical assessment, psychological intervention and rehabilitative care. Detailed clinical assessment will help in tackling the residual impact of the infection. Physical rehabilitation is also important to assess impact on mobility, exercise tolerance and muscle weakness.
Psychological evaluation will also play a big role in addressing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) amongst those who have battled severe COVID-19; it is as big a component as physical rehabilitation. These key areas of focus will help understand, diagnose and treat the long and short term implications of COVID-19, post recovery.
According to a press release, at the post-COVID-19 OPD, patients will also be assessed for lung fitness and pulmonary fibrosis, especially amongst those who have had complicated recoveries in the ICU. Those with pre-existing conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, obesity, etc. will be evaluated to gauge the seriousness of the disease before, and after contracting COVID-19. This focused effort will help COVID-19 survivors who experience generalised weakness and lethargy, pain in the limbs, and those facing difficulty in recovering lung capacity.
The multidisciplinary team will assess COVID-19 survivors post discharge on day 14, day 28, and in the third and sixth month, under this post COVID-19 health-check programme. Reportedly the first of its kind OPD will be hosted every Wednesday and Saturday at the hospital. The rehabilitation programme will also include counselling of COVID-19 survivors about blood plasma donation for convalescent plasma therapy, which will help critically ill patients fighting the infection.
Speaking about the importance of the rehabilitation programme and the post-COVID-19 OPD, the doctors at Fortis Hospital, Mulund and key member of Maharashtra’s COVID-19 taskforce, said, “We have noticed significant changes in patients who have battled COVID-19, like lack of exercise tolerance, disturbed sleep pattern, muscle wasting, lack of appetite, etc. While the neuropsychiatric implications like depression, insomnia, etc. are immense too, some of these patients tend to develop worsening of their existing comorbidities. A panel of experts will be required to thoroughly assess post-COVID-19 complications, normal follow-ups are not enough. Re-evaluation of pre-existing conditions will be key to gauge the disease impact before and after COVID-19; for example, a diabetic who pre-COVID-19 had X Insulin dependence, may now require X+/- amount of Insulin, same for those with hypertension. Rehabilitation will have to be planned as per each patient’s recovery status, and observed over a course of six months”.
Speaking at the launch, Dr S Narayani, Zonal Director, Fortis Hospitals, Mumbai, said, “Our medical teams were one of the first to join the city-wide fight against COVID-19 in early March 2020. Responding to the call of duty, our teams collectively cared for over 2000 COVID -19 positive patients over the past four months; of this, a big percentage of patients needed acute critical care. We are now entering the next phase of COVID-19 care with the post-COVID-19 OPD, where COVID-19 survivors will be rehabilitated back into their daily lives by providing clinical, psychological and rehabilitative care”.