Around one million people in the UK are affected by Long Covid (LC). LC severely impacts peoples daily life. There are 83 LC clinics in England, but waiting times are long and access is delayed for many people. There is increasing urgency for LC patients to access prompt, appropriate and efficient care in clinics and doctors surgeries.
The aim of this study is to produce a gold standard for care by analysing what is happening to patients now, creating new systems of care and evaluating them to establish best practice. This research takes place in 10 UK-wide LC clinics treating 5000 patients and involves three parallel workstreams (WS1, WS2 and WS3). Working with health professionals and people with LC, we found that the key priorities are correct clinical assessment; advice and treatment; and help with returning to work and other roles.
WS1 involves the close cooperation between health professionals and researchers from the ten clinics. Using their combined experiences and various research methods, they will codesign with patients the best possible approaches that will inform training and resources to address the care and vocational challenges facing patients.
WS2 involves developing precise methods for measuring symptoms and difficulties with daily living, and identifying triggers for these difficulties. This includes the wearing of digital devices and further development and testing of the first published LC patient-reported outcome measure (C19 YRS Yorkshire Rehabilitation Scale).
WS3 will use existing data from care of LC patients and the best practice guidance developed in WS1 to develop and evaluate new service models.
By comparing findings of these workstreams across our ten LC Clinics, we will establish a gold standard of treatment and real-time education for healthcare staff and patients that can be shared within England and the rest of the UK.