Virtual physical rehabilitation following COVID‑19 hospitalization
The consequences of COVID‑19 can be serious for many people, especially for those who are older and have health conditions. Some patients may need to be in hospital and even be admitted in the intensive care unit. Emerging data on the long-term consequences after COVID‑19 suggests that many patients suffer from persistent symptoms including mobility problems, breathlessness, and fatigue. Preliminary data from our group shows that at 12-month post-discharge, 46% of patients report important problems in mobility. This emerging data suggests that these patients will likely benefit from a rehabilitation intervention. This approach is actually recommended by the World Health Organization and international respiratory societies. To date, there is very limited evidence to support and detail the benefits of rehabilitation programs in COVID‑19 patients who needed to be in the hospital. We will test a virtual rehabilitation program for patients who have been in the hospital because of COVID-19. Patients will be recruited from the COVID‑19 clinic of the McGill University Health Centre and from a longitudinal study of patients with COVID‑19 from McMaster University. Participants will be divided into two groups. One group will receive an 8-week home-based virtual rehabilitation program consisted of exercises and education plus usual care. The other group will receive usual care which will include education on how to manage symptoms and engage in physical activity. We would like to investigate if our virtual rehabilitation program can improve patients’ mobility, physical function, quality of life and mental health. If we prove our rehabilitation program to be effective, this model of care can be implemented nationally and internationally and benefit hundreds of patients worldwide.