Ohio State Wexner Medical Center’s COVID-19 Recovery Program Treats Long-Distance Patients


Stephanie Hughes received pulmonary rehabilitation and post-COVID-19 recovery treatment at the Martha Morehouse Pavilion. Credit: Courtesy of Stéphanie Hughes

The path to recovery after a diagnosis of COVID-19 varies for all patients.

A program led by Wexner Medical Center in Ohio State now aims to treat the “long COVID-19” – when symptoms of the virus or other new health problems persist after the period of contagion has passed. Dr Julie Mangino, professor emeritus in the Department of Internal Medicine, said about a third of people with COVID-19 have battled the virus for a long time.

Mangino said the number of people who experience a lengthy COVID-19 varies from study to study. She said the most common symptoms people experience are brain fog, fatigue, and shortness of breath.

For long COVID-19 patients, the 14-day quarantine period after a positive test is the start of a new reality, said Stephanie Mitchell Hughes, a local lawyer who tested positive in December 2020.

Hughes said after being quarantined and tested negative, she attempted to resume her routine, which included yoga classes three times a week.

After a few weeks of normalcy, she crashed at the end of a class in mid-February.

“I couldn’t get up off the ground,” said Hughes. “It was like I couldn’t get up when I was ready to get up and leave the room. And it was like my body was kind of crashing down and stopping, and it was just kind of a descent.

Raising her grown children on her own, Hughes said she was no stranger to pushing her limits. However, the effect of COVID-19 on his physical and mental state has proven difficult to overcome.

“My experience has always been: I get by no matter what it is,” said Hughes. “You can’t cope with a long COVID. “

To treat her symptoms, Hughes said she turned to the medical centre’s post-COVID-19 recovery program, co-led by Dr Jodi Granddominico and Dr Lynn Fussner. Working with 15 clinics and specialists in Columbus, the program meets the needs of local long-term COVID-19 patients.

Granddominico, associate director of clinical operations for the Ohio State Division of General Internal Medicine and associate professor at the College of Medicine, said the idea for the clinic originated in March, at the end of a wave of the virus. .

“We started to think about taking care of some of these post-COVID patients,” Granddominico said. “Since the clinic started, we’ve seen around 300 patients. “

Hughes said during his recovery appointments at the Martha Morehouse Lodge that attendees would use traditional exercise equipment, such as ellipticals and treadmills. However, long-term COVID-19 patients must also work to regain control of their daily movements and movements.

“Probably the hardest exercise we do is getting up and sitting down: getting up, sitting down 15 times, and we have to – oddly enough, no matter where you are – we always had to take a little break, “said Hugues.

After participating in the recovery program for 24 weeks, Hughes said she felt the bi-weekly meetings improved her health and that she signed up for a lung maintenance – a continuation of the recovery program’s rehabilitation efforts.

“I have to pay for this out of pocket,” said Hughes. “I signed up for lung maintenance, just to try not to lose the ground I left behind, and also to continue to improve my abilities.”

Michael Altomare, who contracted COVID-19 in April 2020, said he was still suffering from symptoms more than a year after being released from hospital.

“I still have fatigue, anxiety, depression; cognitively, I’m still not back, which is difficult for me, ”said Altomare. “They told me that a year after the ICU you will sort of have an idea of ​​where you are. Well, I hope that’s not it. I always hope there is room.

Prior to the effort’s launch in May, Altomare and his wife were navigating emerging research on COVID-19 with the help of their family doctor, but lacked specialist input or specific post-hospitalization protocols.

“We received very little information on the exit instructions because no one really knew what COVID was going to do in the long term,” Altomare said. “We were fortunate enough to reach my family doctor, who is following my case; he did a terrific job managing what we knew at the time until I could get into the Ohio State process.

Since joining the program, Altomare said he has found himself surrounded by knowledgeable clinicians whose research into the effects of the virus and the medical needs of their patients has been impressive.

Mangino said she recommends that students continue to follow health guidelines and stay on top of the prevalence of the virus in the community.

“Wear a mask wherever you go, when you are indoors. Make sure it is not wet, loose, or soiled. Trying to distance yourself socially is always a good thing, ”Mangino said. “We’re not out of it yet, so get vaccinated and wear masks whenever you’re inside.”

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