Help for long-term covid-19 effects is here

By Khaula Khatlani, MD

June 08, 2021

Recovering from Covid-19 has been an uphill battle for many individuals, with an increasing number becoming “Covid longhaulers.” The good news is there’s a new program at Bristol Health that has proven to significantly help get these individuals back to living a healthier life.

We’re rolling out our PACT Program (Post-Acute Covid-19 Treatment and Rehabilitation) to the public. The program is aimed at providing our community’s Covid long-haulers with the individualized care they need to achieve maximum recover y. For many suffering from Post-Acute Covid-19 Syndrome, specialized care is necessary as they’re finding it increasingly more difficult to get back to 100 percent following their battle with the coronavirus - even if the infection didn’t result in hospitalization.

Prior to contracting Covid, these individuals were active and healthy, participated in competitive sports, ran marathons and took care of their communities. Now, simple activities have become difficult tasks as symptoms still persist several weeks or months following the acute illness.

Post-Acute Covid-19 Syndrome may include a wide array of symptoms, including new-onset or aggravation of pre-existing respiratory, cardiac, neurologic or psychological health issues, which may be debilitating.

Rehabilitation is the key to full recovery from any debilitating illness. We know prolonged illness, hospitalization, an ICU stay or simply staying in bed for a long period can lead to decreased functional capacity and endurance. PACT can help long-haulers recover.

PACT brings together a multidisciplinary team of experts from pulmonary and sleep medicine, cardiology, neurology, behavioral health, infectious disease, physical therapy, speech patholog y and occupational medicine. Upon entrance into the program you will receive an initial symptom assessment to gain a better understanding of your needs. Program participants are then referred to the appropriate specialists for further evaluation and management. For some, physical therapy may be the best route to a full recovery, for others it may take expertise from a neurologist to deal with cognitive issues, a cardiologist to address heart concerns or direct help from one or more of the many other specialists involved with this integrated program. All providers collaborate closely with the common goal of helping these long-haulers.

In addition to providing evidence-based care to aid in your physical recovery, PACT can also connect you with the proper resources to address any mental health issues brought on by the pandemic.

Since the beginning, the pandemic has negatively affected our lives through social isolation, psychosocial stress or work stress. Covid survivors in particular, both with and without a past histor y of mental health illness, are known to experience deterioration of their psychological health. These individuals can benefit from the trained behavioral health experts working with the PACT program or by joining the Covid-19 Support Group. The Bristol Covid-19 Support Group provides yet another platform for these individuals to cope with the long-term Covid effects.

The best news I can share with you is that the PACT Program works.

Bristol Health initially enrolled its own employees experiencing Post-Acute Covid-19 Syndrome in the program. The vast majority were able to gradually return to their work and activities of daily living. After having success with our own employees, we have made the PACT program available to our community members. Call (860) 922-5369 to learn more.

Whether you are struggling with your daily chores, returning to work successfully or simply looking for social support, this program is committed to helping you reintegrate into society and get back to living a healthy and happy life.