Recovery app launched in Wales to help support people with long COVID
A COVID recovery app has been launched today (20 January) as part of wider support on offer for people experiencing the longer term effects of coronavirus.
The bilingual, first of its kind, app has been developed by the NHS Wales respiratory health group on behalf of the Welsh Government and has been designed to offer people a bespoke tool and personal coach to help them on their road to recovery.
With more than 100 videos and links to advice, app users will be able to record their symptoms, track their progress and learn to manage their condition at home with support. It includes advice from therapists, psychologists, dietitians and consultants.
The app is part of a wider national approach to support people with post-COVID syndrome which includes supporting health professionals to recognise the symptoms, signposting people to support and providing a clear pathway for people as they go through the healthcare system.
Post-COVID-19 syndrome, also known as long COVID, has been defined as signs and symptoms that develop during or after an infection consistent with coronavirus that continue for more than 12 weeks and are not explained by an alternative diagnosis.
It is anticipated that people are able to access the majority of the support they need close to home, and people should only have to travel for more specialised services which have to be provided in an acute hospital setting.
Health minister Vaughan Gething said:
We are still learning about the virus but it is estimated that around that around 1 in 10 people who have had coronavirus suffer some long term symptoms. The launch of this app, which is the first of its kind, is to reassure those people that there is support available to them and that they are not alone.
This app is part of a wider national approach which has been put into place to recognise those people who months later are still feeling a range of cardiac, neurological and psychological issues.
Anyone can download the app but we’re also asking health professionals to recommend it to their patients so that their care can continue at home long after their appointment ends.
GPs are still best placed to signpost their patients to appropriate support, carry out testing to look for any treatable symptoms and refer patients to specialist consultants if necessary, this will of course mean that support is still available for anyone without a smart phone.
Dr Fiona Jenkins, executive director of therapies at Cardiff and Vale University Health Board said:
I’m delighted that we’ve been able to produce this app for the people of Wales which offers a huge range of clinical advice and allows you to support yourself, it lets you set goals, track your progress and monitor your symptoms over time.
The vast majority of people fully recover quickly. However, we’ve seen that for some people, it can take three months or even longer for symptoms to settle.
The role of the GP is pivotal in ensuring any medically treatable symptoms are appropriately managed.
Where necessary, your GP can ensure you are checked and given access to specialist consultants and help guide you through your path to recovery which largely requires a rehabilitation approach for the majority of people, and the COVID recovery app has been developed for this purpose.
Always call 999 if you experience any life threatening symptoms or contact the 111 online coronavirus service or your GP if you feel your symptoms aren’t improving or you need further advice.
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