COVID Long-Haulers. A Burgeoning Patient Population
Unfortunately, the coronavirus is not a one and done problem. Statistics show as many as 30% of those who contracted COVID-19 are experiencing persistent, and often significant, symptoms, or Post-Acute Sequelae of COVID (PASC). Those dealing with PASC are known as COVID Long-Haulers.
For most, COVID symptoms resolve in four weeks or less. But for others, there are long term issues, and the effects can linger for months. With some estimates stating 40-60 million Americans or more were infected with COVID, the estimated Long-Haulers population equates to over 10 million Americans.
Long-Haulers are generally defined as people with lingering symptoms lasting more than six weeks. The 10 most common complaints among study participants were:
- Cognitive dysfunction, reported by 81%
- Headache, 68%
- Numbness or tingling, 60%
- Loss of taste, 59%
- Loss of smell, 55%
- Muscle pain, 55%
- Dizziness, 47%
- Pain, 43%
- Blurred vision, 30%
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ears), 29%
In addition, many reported non-neurologic symptoms, including:
- Fatigue, 85%
- Depression or anxiety, 47%
- Shortness of breath, 46%
- Chest pain, 37%
- Insomnia, 33%
- Variation of heart rate and blood pressure, 30%
- Gastrointestinal complaints, 29%
In extreme cases, Long-Haulers issues can affect your patients’ organs. They may experience:
- Inflammation of the heart muscle
- Lung-related issues
- Kidney problems
Surprising to many healthcare professionals has been the number of people with lingering problems who were never hospitalized. In a recent study conducted by Dr. Greg Vanichkachorn, medical director of Mayo Clinic, the first 100 patients through the Mayo Long-Haulers rehab program showed only 25% originally had COVID-19 illnesses severe enough to need hospitalization. Yet the remaining 75% exhibited persistent and debilitating symptoms for months after their initial symptoms began.
The investigators also found recovery varied from patient to patient, making it difficult to predict whether a specific symptom would likely ease within a certain timeframe.
Now, frustratingly, patients are not getting appropriate care. The result is lost time at work, less time with family, and a reduction of confidence in their health providers. For facilities who can implement a cohesive and comprehensive Long-Haulers care program, they have the opportunity to improve outcomes and present a solution for many in their patient population.
What Does a Long-Haulers Care Program Look Like?
To care for patients with persistent, yet inconsistent post-COVID symptoms, the ability to monitor them remotely is key. Is there a time of day when symptoms are worse? Do certain activities trigger a symptom? Do different foods affect symptoms? Is exercise helpful or detrimental for certain symptoms? Are some natural supplements or prescription medicines effective?
To answer these important questions, daily surveys and monitoring of vitals can provide valuable insights. Predictive algorithms and rules-based modeling can forecast problematic progressions, and proactively alert both the care provider and patient, so that personalized treatment plans can be assigned.
Through remote monitoring or virtual care, patients can interactively engage and respond to a care team’s queries:
- Initial assessment survey for medical, behavioral, and cognitive baseline to determine daily surveys to have sent to the patient.
- Daily short surveys monitoring their medical health. For example:, chest pain, difficulty breathing, palpitations, dizziness, and lung capacity.
- Daily short surveys asking about mental health. For example: depression and anxiety, PTSD, OCD, tobacco and alcohol consumption, and substance abuse. Declining outcomes, or severe responses can trigger immediate outreach for depression and anxiety care.
- Daily cognitive testing including spatial span, speech recognition, speech in noise and reaction time to determine decline or improvement. Helps to determine which patient activities are needed to retrain the brain.
- Daily Symptom Surveys with alerts
- Weekly PHQ-9 Survey for Depression
- Weekly GAD-7 Survey for Anxiety
- Medication monitoring where the patient confirms they have taken their prescription. If they have not, the care team proactively contacts them to ensure compliance
- Education from CDC, NIH, and client-provided sources
- Text Bank Collection according to the designated areas of focus
All data is captured, reviewed, and a personalized solutions-oriented program is put in place to help the patient improve. Monitoring Plans accommodate workflows and assess the incoming measurement and survey response data to alert the care team in real time.
The m.Care platform is the perfect complement to a PASC care model.
Does your medical facility have a plan to manage your Long-Haulers patient population?
The m.Care post-COVID “Long-Haulers” recovery program, dedicated to those with lingering COVID-19 symptoms, provides the solution for healthcare facilities looking to implement a comprehensive long-haulers program.
The m.Care platform has years of proven success with at-home monitoring of patient’s physical and behavioral health. It has powerful, built-in tools, to help memory retraining, and includes predictive and proactive AI software. That predictive component is vital to both the neurological and mental health components of a patient’s health. The platform works with virtually all existing hospital systems and EMR platforms, and integrates with over 160 bluetooth-capable medical devices. It offers voice recognition, much more.
While the platform helps support the detection, diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19, it specializes in the quick and seamless implementation of a facility’s response to COVID, including post-COVID long-haulers treatment.
m.Care helps provide improved care and mitigate risk, contributing to improved patient outcomes. Our existing at-home patient monitoring of COVID and post-COVID patients significantly improves outcomes and saves costs.
Providing a solution for these burgeoning long-haulers populations is a key need for healthcare systems. m.Care has the solution, and makes it easy for the care facility. Set-up and Go Live can occur in just a few weeks, with improved outcomes resulting immediately.
Please call us directly at 913.683.4015 to set up a long-haulers solution demo and see an example of your patients activities powered by m.Care.
We look forward to showing how m.Care can help provide the solution for your PASC patients.
Learn more about how m.Care can help you:
- Improve patient care
- Lower your costs
- Distinguish your services
- Become more preemptive instead of reactive