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Health and wellbeing team and public health launch Long COVID Rehabilitation Programme in partnership first with Nuffield Health
Date
Thu, 28 Jul 2022
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The health and wellbeing team and public health are delighted to announce they have launched their Long COVID Rehabilitation Programme, in joint partnership with Nuffield Health, the UK's largest healthcare charity.  

After recognising the demand for further treatment within the local authority, public health approached Nuffield Health to collaboratively deliver a specialist programme to residents in need. The Long COVID Rehabilitation offer is the charity's first programme partnership with a local authority, expanding the project's current reach into new areas to support health and wellbeing on a local level.  

Initially only available in selected Nuffield Health sites across the UK, the specialist 12-week rehabilitation programme, which supports patients in their recovery after COVID-19, is open to both residents, and those that work in the East Riding. 

If anyone has returned to work after COVID-19 and is still struggling with abnormal fatigue or finding it difficult to concentrate or manage day-to day tasks and activities, it is possible they have Long COVID and are encouraged to get support.

Individuals who are still suffering from symptoms or are newly diagnosed with Long COVID can be referred to this programme through the NHS Humber Long COVID Triage and Assessment Service or by their GP. 

The free-to-access 12-week programme blends physical therapy and mental health support to provide flexible and individually assessed treatment. Participants will work with an East Riding fitness instructor for personalised advice and on a recovery plan, consisting of a six-week virtual programme of at-home exercises, before attending an East Riding health and wellbeing centre for the remainder of the programme.  

Participants will also receive access to on-demand workouts, weekly support calls and will be able to access peer support from others who have had similar experiences with the long-term effects of COVID-19.  

After the programme ends, participants will be supported through advice on their next steps, how to continue their journey within East Riding health and wellbeing centres, as well as signposting to community opportunities. 

Leader of the council, Cllr Jonathan Owen, said: "I am delighted to announce the launch of this specialist and collaborative COVID rehabilitation programme with our partners at Nuffield Health, who have enabled our colleagues in public health to bring an already proven and what we hope will be a really accessible and supportive offer, to those that live or work in the East Riding and struggle with long-lasting symptoms of coronavirus.

"As we all learn to live with the virus, public health and the health and wellbeing team continue to research the impact of this, in many ways, still unknown and changing virus, and how it can alter the day-to-day lives of many residents, alongside our local NHS partners. I will follow with great interest, the experiences of those that are referred to this programme, and await to hear positive outcomes."

Please note: To access the programme, participants will require a referral from a medical professional, direct through the NHS Humber Long Covid Triage hub or their GP.  

Staff are advised to email leisure.health@eastriding.gov.uk in the first instance to find out more. 

 

Frequently asked Questions...

What is Long COVID? 

For some individuals, COVID-19 can cause symptoms that last weeks and months after the initial infection, known as Long COVID. Even people who had relatively moderate COVID-19 at the time can later experience Long COVID symptoms. 

There is limited research into the condition due to its recent emergence and doctors are in the early stages of understanding the variety of different symptoms affecting many parts of the body. 

Symptoms can include fatigue, breathlessness, coughing, joint pain, muscle aches, , headaches, loss of smell and taste as well as depression, anxiety and brain fog. Long COVID can present in very different ways for different people. 

How many people are experiencing Long COVID? 

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimates 2.8% of the population are living with Long COVID, which means the condition could impact on over 1.8 million people. In relation to the East Riding population, the estimate is around 7,000 residents depending on variants in relation to the limited research available so far. The biggest known risk factor at the current time links back to hospitalisation during the COVID-19 infection itself, followed by gender, age, BMI and deprivation. 

Why are we offering our own programme? 

Due to the proportion of COVID cases in the East Riding last summer, public health decided to research the potential of how many people might be at risk of Long COVID. After considerable conversations with NHS partners, the Office for Health Improvement & Disparities (OHID) and specialist doctors, it was agreed that a specific programme to support people who live and work in East Riding would be most beneficial. Public health first started researching and gathering evidence as to what was available for people living with Long COVID symptoms in August 2021. There were very limited resources at the time, but public health was keen to provide reassurance and an alternative to existing recovery opportunities. 

Why did the health and wellbeing team decide to work with Nuffield Heath? 

As the largest healthcare charity in the UK, Nuffield Health were ahead of the game when it came to supporting people living with Long COVID when the team started to look at an offer for residents in August 2021. They had already undertaken research into the symptoms, cause and effect of the virus and had in place a robust, evidence-based rehabilitation programme. With the lack of evidence that was available at the time around Long COVID we considered the potential of partnering with Nuffield Health to offer their proven programme to our residents. This was approved as best practice by public health, NHS leads on Long COVID and the OHID. 

Nuffield Health have now been successfully delivering this programme across the UK to individuals for over a year. It's not always easy to diagnose an individual due to the variation in symptoms and lack of widely available testing at the start of the pandemic, therefore if an individual fits within the criteria of Long COVID but is unable to evidence a positive result, they are considered to have Long COVID and the programme is still considered suitable. 

Who will deliver the programme? 

The programme will be delivered by the East Riding health and wellbeing team, to support East Riding residents and its workforce in understanding and managing the symptoms they experience post-COVID-19. Programme leaders are currently recruiting the first cohort and will offer instructor-led support to both individuals and small groups. 

What is the difference between this programme and the current Humber Long COVID service? 

The main difference is the East Riding rehabilitation programme can be accessed in the community and is a non-clinical intervention. This means the programme can support those people who do not require specialist doctors and nurses but still struggle with managing their symptoms and simple day-to-day activities. The programme aims to educate people about their symptoms and how to manage them, bring people together to support each other and improve mental well-being and gradually improve their day-to-day activity. 

Participants will be given a journal they can use to help identify their own capabilities and goals, they will discuss these through weekly one-to-one phone calls with their dedicated fitness instructor and set goals to work towards. The participants will also have access to an online hub where they can build their own programme, access advice through webinars and informational videos to their emotional well-being, along with information regarding managing insomnia, fatigue, and breathlessness.   

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