Publication detail

In the wake of the pandemic: Preparing for Long COVID

Author(s): PhDr. Lucie Bryndová , Rajan S, Khunti K, Alwan N, Steves C, MacDermott N, Morsella A, Angulo E, Winkelmann J, Bryndová L, Fronteira I, Gandré C, Or Z, Gerkens S, Sagan A, Simões J, Ricciardi W, de Belvis AG, Silenzi A, Bernal-Delgado E, Estupiñán-Romero F, McKee M
Type: Monograph
Year: 2021
Number: 0
ISSN / ISBN: ISBN 1997-8073. PMID: 33877759
Published in: European Observatory Policy Brief, No. 39
Publishing place: Copenhagen (Denmark): European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies
Keywords: COVID-19, Health policy, Health systems plans, Public Health, Symptom assessment, Patient participation, Research
JEL codes:
Suggested Citation: Rajan S, Khunti K, Alwan N, Steves C, MacDermott N, Morsella A, Angulo E, Winkelmann J, Bryndová L, Fronteira I, Gandré C, Or Z, Gerkens S, Sagan A, Simões J, Ricciardi W, de Belvis AG, Silenzi A, Bernal-Delgado E, Estupiñán-Romero F, McKee M (2021): In the wake of the pandemic: Preparing for Long COVID. European Observatory Policy Brief, No. 39. Copenhagen (Denmark): European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies. ISBN 1997-8073, pp 1-29. PMID: 33877759. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33877759/
Abstract: • COVID-19 can cause persistent ill-health. Around a
quarter of people who have had the virus experience
symptoms that continue for at least a month but one in
10 are still unwell after 12 weeks. This has been
described by patient groups as “Long COVID”.
• Our understanding of how to diagnose and manage Long
COVID is still evolving but the condition can be very
debilitating. It is associated with a range of overlapping
symptoms including generalized chest and muscle pain,
fatigue, shortness of breath, and cognitive dysfunction,
and the mechanisms involved affect multiple system and
include persisting inflammation, thrombosis, and
autoimmunity. It can affect anyone, but women and
health care workers seem to be at greater risk.
• Long COVID has a serious impact on people’s ability to go
back to work or have a social life. It affects their mental
health and may have significant economic consequences
for them, their families and for society.
• Policy responses need to take account of the complexity
of Long COVID and how what is known about it is
evolving rapidly. Areas to address include:
– The need for multidisciplinary, multispecialty
approaches to assessment and management;
– Development, in association with patients and their
families, of new care pathways and contextually
appropriate guidelines for health professionals,
especially in primary care to enable case management
to be tailored to the manifestations of disease and
involvement of different organ systems;
– The creation of appropriate services, including
rehabilitation and online support tools;
– Action to tackle the wider consequences of Long
COVID, including attention to employment rights, sick
pay policies, and access to benefit and disability benefit
packages;
– Involving patients both to foster self-care and self-help
and in shaping awareness of Long COVID and the
service (and research) needs it generates; and
– Implementing well-functioning patient registers and
other surveillance systems; creating cohorts of patients;
and following up those affected as a means to support
the research which is so critical to understanding and
treating Long COVID.

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