The Trust's community rehabilitation teams are supporting local people manage the effects of coronavirus through care in the community.
Janet Hanna from Maryport contracted coronavirus in March and has been living with the effects of the virus since. She has shared her story on how the community rehabilitation have helped her, she said:
“Towards the end of March my partner Gary and I started to feel really unwell, I was vomiting, I had really bad pains in my head and felt extremely unwell. Due to our symptoms we contacted 111 and paramedics attended our home. After consulting with our respective GP’s, the paramedics advised us that we were to remain at home and isolate.
“Later the same day our symptoms became progressively worse with our temperatures rising quickly the paramedics were recalled and attended my home again. Due to my partners severe condition he was rushed to West Cumberland Hospital, where he spent 3 weeks. Whilst my symptoms had also worsened, I was told to remain at home, to isolate and given instructions by the paramedics. I spent about 10 days in bed just sleeping, with medication, I was zonked.
“When I did start to feel a bit better, I contacted my GP and explained I was still suffering from symptoms of breathlessness etc, I had a constant burning sensation in my throat and nose, my whole body ached, I was so tired and couldn’t do much before I came breathless.
“My GP then referred me to the community rehabilitation service to get some support with the management of my symptoms. I had an initial phone assessment within which we spoke about how I was feeling, followed by a nurses visit to the house for a check-up. Stuart from the rehab team, subsequently, came out as well to discuss how he could support my Covid rehabilitation.”
“Stuart asked me to keep a diary of my activity levels and how I felt after doing certain things, like a walk. Because of my breathlessness he didn’t give me too many exercises and advised me to take things very steadily. I am working on the rehab programme with Stuart to slowly increase my activity levels which vary day to day as some days I feel incredibly fatigued all these months later. I am now referred to ENT, Muscular Skeletal and other clinics all of which are believed to linked to Long-Covid.”
“During Gary’s treatment for Covid-19 at West Cumberland Hospital he almost lost his battle for his life on two occasions. On leaving hospital he was extremely weak having lost 3 stone in weight. He was referred automatically to the respiratory clinic and continues to receive care from a team of specialists from across the North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust; inclusive of ENT, Speech Therapy, Respiratory Physiotherapy, Physical Psychology and Respiratory Clinics.
“We are still battling with Long Covid related problems 10 months on and would like to make all aware of the impact of this awful virus. Recovery is slow and gradual, yet the number of Covid related issues continue to cause us problems. People must follow guidance to keep everyone safe. I would urge anyone who has had coronavirus and are still not feeling themselves to look at the options for support that are available.”
Stuart Nicholson, Physiotherapist at North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust has been working with Janet and other patients who have had the virus in the community, he said:
“I’ve been working with Janet since the spring after she was referred into the rehab service following getting coronavirus. Janet, like many others has experienced what we call long-covid, so we’ve been taking her rehab nice and steady.
“As part of her rehab, we’ve had a lot of discussions around her activities which included keeping a home diary so she can note down her activity levels. This helps us understand what she has been doing and how she felt after doing certain activities. From here we have then tailored and paced her rehab programme to help manage fatigue whilst improving her overall fitness.”
To help people who are living with the physical effects of COVID-19, North Cumbria’s community rehabilitation team help assess current symptoms including shortness of breath and fatigue and their impact on the individual.
“We look for patterns within symptoms and the underlying reasons for this. From here we complete a treatment plan to work towards the individual patients’ goal. This is very individual depending on the presentation and the goals of the patient. Generally COVID rehabilitation will involve pacing activities in order to manage fatigue, followed by the gradual introduction of an exercise programme to build physical fitness.
“Do not struggle on if you have had COVID and are suffering with the side effects, there is therapy support available within your local Integrated Care Community (ICC) therapy team who can be contacted via the ICC HUB on 01946 853333.”
Please note the rehab team photo is pre covid.