Providence’s COVID long-haul clinic sees same findings as new study

Author: Carmen Kendall, M.D.

When we opened the Providence COVID Recovery Clinic in May 2021, we weren’t sure what exactly to expect – such is the nature of this very unpredictable disease. But we knew we wanted to use a multidisciplinary approach to treat and support patients who are struggling to recover from the long-term effects of COVID.

The medical community continues to learn more about this disease, share information with our colleagues and adapt new approaches to caring for our patients. 

A British study published Sept. 28, 2021, in Plos Medicine, examined the electronic health records of 273,618 COVID survivors and found that more than one-third of these patients experienced one or more features of long COVID. Their symptoms were recorded between three and six months after a diagnosis of COVID.

Patient medical records in the study were calculated for nine core features of long COVID: breathing difficulties/breathlessness, fatigue/malaise, chest/throat pain, headache, digestive symptoms, myalgia, other pain, cognitive symptoms and anxiety/depression.

Based on Providence COVID Recovery Clinic’s experience of caring for more than 200 long-haul COVID patients so far, we’re seeing similar findings. Long-haul COVID cases affect all age groups including younger patients, many of whom were relatively healthy prior to contracting acute COVID.  

National and global studies are ongoing, but at this point, it appears that the body’s nervous system and immune response play a role in why some COVID patients experience long-haul symptoms. Long-haul COVID cases affect all age groups, including younger patients.

Our clinic uses a multidisciplinary approach that includes involvement of physical, speech and occupational therapy providers; behavioral health; medical nutrition; and clinical pharmacy. As appropriate, we also involve care from specialists in neurology, cardiology, pulmonology and neuropsychiatry.

A key element of the treatment is supportive, gentle physical therapy that is designed specifically for patients with long-haul COVID. Since multiple body systems can be compromised and are sensitive to overexertion, the goal of therapy is to improve function slowly with regard to each patient’s energy and stamina. 

Our physical therapists help the patient focus on breath work, relaxation, pacing and energy conservation. They may use supine aerobics to lessen the strain on the cardiovascular system and begin rebuilding strength very gradually.

By providing an extensive team of experts, our clinic works to help patients slowly recover from this devastating, puzzling disease.

The Providence COVID Recovery Clinic is available to Providence Health Plan members and to patients who have a primary care provider with Providence Medical Group.

Carmen Kendall, M.D., is a family medicine physician and medical director, Providence COVID Recovery Clinic. 

To refer a patient
Call the Providence COVID Recovery Clinic:
Order in Epic, or call 
971-326-8718, option 6.

For more information
KPTV story about the Providence COVID Recovery Clinic


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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