Joined forces in COVID-19 rehabilitation care

1 May 2020

For Covid-19 patients who respond successfully to treatment and are able to be discharged from hospital, the road to recovery can still be a lengthy one. Their physical functioning is negatively affected by the illness, combined with an often longer than average hospital stay with very little possibilities of exercise (due to their poor health and/or quarantine measures). COVID-19 can also lead to emotional complaints, including anxiety.  COVID-19 ICU (Intensive Care Unit) survivors often experience a major negative impact on multiple domains; physical, cognitive, mental and/or social functioning are severely limited. Also patients who could stay at home with a milder course of COVID-19 can experience difficulties in resuming daily life.

It is therefore important to provide appropriate care to every COVID-19 patient in order to return to an optimal level of functioning as soon as possible. The impact of the disease can vary considerably between patients. The required care can vary from providing information, counseling by a physiotherapist or psychologist in primary care, to multidisciplinary rehabilitation in secondary or tertiary care on an outpatient or clinical basis. 

In order to provide the right care in the right place to COVID-19 patients, the involved health care providers (primary, secondary and tertiary care) in the Limburg region have joined forces. The Living Lab Rehabilitation and the Living Lab Ageing and Long-Term Care developed a regional rehabilitation plan for Covid-19 patients, together with their partner care organisations (geriatric rehabilitation in nursing homes and specialised rehabilitation medicine of Adelante Zorggroep respectively). Also the Living Lab of General Practice, Ciro Horn (lung disease rehabilitation) and the regional hospitals are involved. A wonderful example of how interdisciplinary collaboration results in the best (regional) patient care. 

For more information, please contact Jeanine Verbunt, Professor of Rehabilitation Medicine, CAPHRI/Adelante (jeanine.verbunt@maastrichtuniversity.nl)