Comprehensive care for long COVID patients still remains

Author: Lee Salsburg, M.D., Providence Virtual Clinic

Years after the start of the pandemic, more than 200 patients continue to be cared for at Providence for ongoing symptoms that remain from contracting COVID-19. Long COVID, also known as post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection (PASC), is a condition that affects individuals who continue to experience symptoms long after recovering from the acute phase of COVID.

As the medical community learns more about this complex and challenging condition, it has become clear that a multidisciplinary approach to treatment is essential in providing comprehensive care for these patients.

The closure of dedicated COVID recovery clinics, such as the one at Providence in July 2023, has necessitated a shift in how care is coordinated for long COVID patients. Primary care physicians (PCPs) now play a crucial role in identifying, referring and managing these patients, often working in collaboration with specialists and support staff to address the diverse range of symptoms that long COVID can present.

One of the key challenges in treating long COVID is the variability and persistence of symptoms. Patients may experience a wide variety of issues affecting multiple body systems, including fatigue, cognitive difficulties, respiratory problems and more. This complexity underscores the importance of personalized treatment plans that address the specific needs and symptoms of each individual patient. 

Symptomatic relief and management are central to the care of these patients. There are still over 200-plus symptoms that are related to long COVID. Strategies such as energy conservation, engagement with physical and speech therapy, and mental health supports are essential in helping patients cope with symptoms and improve their quality of life.

For new patients seeking care for long COVID or those who suspect they may be experiencing persistent post-COVID symptoms, the pathway to treatment typically begins with a consultation with a PCP. From there, referrals may be made to specialists and support staff to develop a tailored treatment plan that addresses the unique needs of each patient. 

While the medical community continues to grapple with the complexities and the yet to be understood pathophysiology of long COVID, one thing remains clear - a collaborative and multidisciplinary approach is essential in providing effective care and support for patients living with this condition. By working together across specialties and disciplines, health care clinicians can help ease symptoms, enhance quality of life and better understand the long-term implications of COVID-19 infection. 

To make a referral

Referrals can still be made through EPIC by searching for COVID Recovery Clinic or by calling Providence Virtual Support Clinic at 971-326-8718, Option 3 or by fax at 503-487-3601. 

You may also contact Lee Salsburg, M.D., at

About the Author

The inScope content team focuses on bringing you the latest in clinical news from our team of world-class medical providers and physician leaders.

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