Long Covid Wellbeing Coordinator
The past few years have seen unprecedented circumstances across the whole of the UK and the rest of the world due to the Coronavirus. Life as we knew it, changed beyond belief, worse than we could have ever imagined and lockdowns lasting for months at a time. Self-isolation, limited contact with families, grief, furlough, anxiety, depression and zero social activities to attend. This put a huge pressure on the whole population. The role of a Wellbeing Coordinator also had to adapt to help serve patients in the best way possible.
Two years on and Covid is still around. We are learning to live with it, unfortunately, the aftereffects of Covid are far from over for some people, those patients who are suffering with Long Covid or Post Covid Syndrome. The Office of National Statistics reported there is an estimated 970,000 people who are experiencing long covid in the UK (September 2021).
Long Covid symptoms are usually still symptomatic +12 weeks post Covid infection. The severity of Covid does not correlate to having Long Covid. Main symptoms include fatigue, breathlessness, brain fog, muscle aches, cough, chest pain, loss of taste or smell and mental health.
Adapting to life with these new symptoms has been life changing for some. Not being able to work, financially worries, not being to exercise, not being able to walk up the stairs without becoming breathless, chronic tiredness, mental health struggles. Managing these symptoms is key to recovery. As is adapting to a new ‘norm’.
Over 80 Long Covid hubs have been set up by the NHS across the UK. The Long Covid teams usually consist of a Respiratory Physiotherapist, Occupational Health Therapist, access to Mental Health Services and my role as Long Covid Wellbeing Coordinator.
This is a new role within the NHS and it helps patients with a holistic approach to living with Long Covid. Using my community network connections, I have been able to link in with Citizens Advice for help with finances, bills, fuel bills. The DWP for advice on Benefits. My connections have been able to link in with groups or hobbies that the patients previously enjoyed. Referrals to mental health services, knowledge around self-help apps such as meditation and mindfulness. Listening none judgementally and understanding what is important and motivates the patient, is a vital part of my role. As is providing emotional support and understanding how these symptoms are affecting their everyday life.
A referral to the Long Covid clinic can be made via your GP. A number of tests are usually carried out such as an ECG, blood test and chest X-ray. Please contact your GP or Well-being Coordinator if you are struggling or experiencing symptoms.