A new service has been set up to help people across Dorset recover from lingering after-effects of COVID-19.
Around one in ten people who contract the virus have persistent symptoms – sometimes known as ‘Long COVID’ – which can last up to 12 weeks or more, including breathlessness, fatigue, headaches and joint pain.
These problems can affect people of all ages, affecting their quality of life, relationships and ability to work.
Now Dorset HealthCare has established a Post-COVID Syndrome (PCS) Service to support patients with self-management or direct them to specialist advice or treatment.
Service Manager Mark Smith said:
“On-going symptoms can last for several months after COVID-19. You don’t have to have had a particularly severe case of the virus, or have been hospitalised, to suffer these effects.
“But help is at hand. If you have had symptoms for 12 weeks or more, you should contact your GP. They will carry out a series of tests to rule out other causes and, if appropriate, refer you to the PCS Service for specialist support and guidance.”
Common PCS symptoms include:
- brain ‘fog’
- pain in the joints or chest.
Once you’ve been referred to the service, PCS staff will carry out an in-depth assessment of your condition and the impact it is having on your life. A team of healthcare professionals will then decide on the best way forward.
This could involve support with self-management around diet, breathing, relaxation and exercise, or a referral to staff specialising in rehabilitation, respiratory problems, mental health, pain management or other services.
“The support provided will depend on people’s symptoms, and the effect these are having. Often, making few changes to your life will help you to get better more quickly.
“And there is no evidence that PCS is a permanent condition. All indications are that – with the right support – people will continue to recover over time.”
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