Rehabilitation post-COVID-19: cross-sectional observations using the Stanford Hall remote assessment tool

BMJ Mil Health. 2021 May 26:bmjmilitary-2021-001856. doi: 10.1136/bmjmilitary-2021-001856. Online ahead of print.


INTRODUCTION: The multisystem COVID-19 can cause prolonged symptoms requiring rehabilitation. This study describes the creation of a remote COVID-19 rehabilitation assessment tool to allow timely triage, assessment and management. It hypotheses those with post-COVID-19 syndrome, potentially without laboratory confirmation and irrespective of initial disease severity, will have significant rehabilitation needs.

METHODS: Cross-sectional study of consecutive patients referred by general practitioners (April-November 2020). Primary outcomes were presence/absence of anticipated sequelae. Binary logistic regression was used to test association between acute presentation and post-COVID-19 symptomatology.

RESULTS: 155 patients (n=127 men, n=28 women, median age 39 years, median 13 weeks post-illness) were assessed using the tool. Acute symptoms were most commonly shortness of breath (SOB) (74.2%), fever (73.5%), fatigue (70.3%) and cough (64.5%); and post-acutely, SOB (76.7%), fatigue (70.3%), cough (57.4%) and anxiety/mood disturbance (39.4%). Individuals with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 were 69% and 63% less likely to have anxiety/mood disturbance and pain, respectively, at 3 months.

CONCLUSIONS: Rehabilitation assessment should be offered to all patients suffering post-COVID-19 symptoms, not only those with laboratory confirmation and considered independently from acute illness severity. This tool offers a structure for a remote assessment. Post-COVID-19 programmes should include SOB, fatigue and mood disturbance management.

PMID:34039689 | DOI:10.1136/bmjmilitary-2021-001856