ISCP Launch Ireland’s first Long COVID Hub

The hub will be country’s leading resource to provide information to public and sufferers

The Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists (ISCP) has launched Ireland’s first Long COVID Hub to provide support and information for people suffering with acute and ongoing symptoms of COVID-19 as well their families, carers and the general public. The new information hub will be Ireland’s leading resource for people suffering from Long COVID and was developed as a result of the experience built up by specialist respiratory chartered physiotherapists working on the frontline in ICUs and recovery units during the pandemic, many of whom caught COVID or now have Long COVID themselves as a result of their work.

ISCP Professional Advisor pictured at the launch of the Long COVID hub

ISCP Professional Advisor Esther-Mary D'Arcy pictured at the launch of the Long COVID hub

The ISCP is concerned about large parts of the country that are not covered by Long COVID clinics and are calling for a more rapid rollout to cover Munster, Connaught as well as the Ulster counties and much of Leinster. Most of the current Long COVID clinics which are primarily along the east coast have been offering varying types of care which hasn’t been consistent across the board and whilst this is to be addressed by the HSE it’s is not happening fast enough as the disease has been affecting patients’ ability to work, carry on with ordinary daily living and activities as well as earn a living, quality of life along with affecting mental and physical health with many individuals having to be retrained in how to breathe properly. chartered physiotherapists Respiratory specialists who are working on the frontline as well as in private clinics are now treating people from as young as 16 years of age up to 88 year olds as well as patients who had Covid from the first and second waves last year with fatigue and breathlessness the top two issues being treated. Sleeping difficulties and associated pain which can affect heart rate are also being reported as problems with the virus. So far chartered physiotherapists have found that there is a 50:50 breakdown of male to female patients suffering from Long COVID in Ireland but international papers have told us there are more females affected esp within the 23-65 year age bracket.

The ISCP Professional Adviser Esther Mary D’Arcy said “We are concerned that there are large areas of the country that don’t have access to a Long COVID clinic and whilst we acknowledge there are more planned these need to be urgently expedited and fully and uniformly resourced to ensure uniformity of access for all especially in the south west, north west, and much of Leinster and Ulster. Long Covid is episodic, unpredictable, relapsing, relenting and very much complex as it can strike again even after the 12 weeks so its important there’s ongoing access to clinics even after recovery from initial Covid symptoms which can arise at any time. Many patients need rehab to help them learn to sit up by themselves and walk again as well as ongoing respiratory physiotherapy support to help manage breathlessness and secretions.”

Whilst most people are recovered by three months, early recognition of Long COVID is imperative after 12 weeks to reduce the severity of symptoms. Early investigation means better management of symptoms long term one of which is the potential for organ impairment if Long COVID is not recognised or checked for and appropriately managed. We are concerned about the number of physiotherapists and other healthcare workers that were directly working on the frontline in ICU’s, recovery units etc that have been affected by Covid many of whom actually lived separately from their families and loved ones during the pandemic.”

ISCP’s CEO Ruaidhri O’Connor said “We have created this resource centre to act as Ireland’s leading resource for people experiencing the after effects of their COVID-19 infection. COVID-19 is a relatively new illness and we want to support the public in getting the most up to date and relevant information. This will help to understand the illness and most importantly how those suffering can be supported to manage the symptoms of acute, ongoing and Long COVID. Alongside doctors and nurses, physiotherapists have played a key role in the care and treatment of COVID-19 patients in hospitals and at home. Physios are involved in acute respiratory care as well as helping patients become fit enough to return home. We urge the public to visit our Long COVID hub and feel free to use it as an information resource on www.askthephysio.ie/longcovid

Notes for the Editor:

For interviews please contact:

Irish Society for Chartered Physiotherapists PR & Communications Manager Aisling McLoone 086 0761339

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