For many, it's a long, tough road to recovery after spending time in hospital with Covid-19

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  • A new study looked at the effects of Covid-19 on patients after discharge from the hospital.
  • More than 1 000 people hospitalised for Covid-19 took part in the study.
  • The researchers observed the physical, mental and cognitive health of the patients for up to nine months.

New research has identified factors related to lingering illness after hospital admission with Covid-19 six months after discharge.

The study published in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine is the largest United Kingdom-based study describing the holistic impact of Covid-19 on the medium-term health of survivors.

The researchers monitored 1 077 Covid-19 patients discharged from the hospital between 5 March and 30 November 2020. The participants were assessed for five to nine months after discharge. They were tested for breathlessness, fatigue, mental health, cognitive impairment, and physical performance.

Patients also self-reported their health status by filling out questionnaires about their general recovery, symptoms, and changes to their working status since their Covid-19 admission.

Post hospitalisation impact of Covid-19

The researchers identified key factors associated with recovery and four distinct recovery phenotypes using cluster analysis according to mental, cognitive, and physical health. The study found that most of the participants did not fully recover during the six months after leaving their respective hospitals.

They experienced persistent symptoms, with 20% developing a new disability as a result of Covid-19.

Of the two-thirds of the participants employed before Covid-19 hospital admission, 19% had changed working status predominately because of ill health.

"People who were most likely not to make a full recovery were women aged between the ages of 40-59, those with two or more comorbidities, and those who received mechanical ventilation.

The authors say that this study demonstrates the need for a holistic approach when dealing with recovery from Covid-19.

“Our findings support the need for a proactive approach to clinical follow-up, with a holistic assessment to include symptoms of mental and physical health, and validated assessment of cognitive impairment,” the authors wrote.

*For more Covid-19 research, science and news, click here. You can also sign up for our Daily Dose newsletter here.

READ | Covid-19: What tests are available in SA and when should you use them?

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