Exploring Rehabilitation Needs and Access to Services for Long COVID

Gross, Douglas P | $152,778

Alberta University of Alberta 2021 CIHR Operating Grant

Many people in Canada have had COVID-19. Months after acute COVID‑19 is over, many people keep having symptoms that affect their “normal” daily functioning. This condition is called “Long COVID”. Very little is known or understood about Long COVID. It has been estimated that almost 1 out of 7 people who get COVID‑19 will develop Long COVID. But we don’t know what specific problems they experience. We also don’t know what type of health care or rehabilitation they need. There are many barriers to accessing health care. These include access to rehabilitation. People in rural/isolated areas have fewer health care options than people in cities. People with lower incomes face barriers to healthcare. Concerns or past negative experiences with the healthcare system may be a barrier. COVID-related restrictions on travel and gathering create more barriers to accessing health care. Learning from people with Long COVID is critical to understanding its impact. Patient views and experiences should help us know how to best treat Long COVID. Current treatment guidelines recommend self-management or rehabilitation. But these guidelines are based mainly on the opinions of experts. The views and preferences of patients have not been studied. We will interview people with Long COVID to better understand their health problems and rehabilitation needs. We will learn if they are getting the help they need for their condition. We will also ask about their experiences with rehabilitation and the health care system. Lastly, we will ask how well currently available services met (or did not meet) their needs. Our results will allow us to make specific recommendations to help people with Long COVID get the help and rehabilitation they need. Results will help improve rehabilitation for Long COVID in Canada and inform international rehabilitation guidelines. (The research team for this project includes people living with Long COVID.)

With funding from the Government of Canada

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