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What coronavirus recovery centers have learned from treating ‘long-haulers’

September 12, 2020

Several health systems in the New York and New Jersey have established care centers for COVID-19 patients who recover from the disease but continue to experience symptoms, and they have discovered that these patients require ongoing, multispecialty care, according to MedPage Today.

Health systems, including Mount Sinai Health System in New York City and Edison, N.J.-based Hackensack Meridian Health, opened COVID-19 recovery centers for patients facing long-term complications from the disease, dubbed “long-haulers.” These patients continue to experience symptoms, including fatigue, shortness of breath and joint pain, in the months after they recover from the virus.

Patients at Hackensack Meridian Health’s COVID Recovery Center receive personalized care treatment plans from primary care physicians and are connected with specialists, including pulmonologists, cardiologists and neurologists, program chair Laurie Jacobs, MD, told MedPage Today.

Zijian Chen, MD, who oversees Mount Sinai’s COVID-19 recovery program also told the publication that post-COVID-19 recovery, patients require care from several specialists. “Right now, we have almost every medical specialty working with the program,” he said.

Patients often come in with lung injury issues and require rehabilitation to “regain lung elasticity,” Jeffrey Fine, MD, who provides care at Rusk Rehabilitation at NYU Langone Health in New York City, told MedPage Today. They also come in with neurologic issues, such as cognitive impairment or neuropathy.

“They may not require a formal cardiac or pulmonary rehab, but they still need to work on focus, attention and reconditioning,” Dr. Fine said.

Patients coming into these recovery centers are not necessarily those who have been hospitalized after contracting COVID-19. Some never went to a hospital, while others had long hospital stays and inpatient rehabilitation, MedPage Today reported.

The centers also offer mental healthcare services, to help patients cope with the mental toll of the illness and its long-lasting ramifications.

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