Counsellors and psychologists vital for Covid-19 rehab, says expert

A Trinity College Dublin study suggests more than half of coronavirus patients suffer ongoing fatigue
Nina Massey (PA)

COUNSELLORS and psychologists are an important part of coronavirus rehabilitation as people suffer from long-term effects of Covid-19, an expert has said.

Dr Michael Beckles, a consultant respiratory and general physician, said he has seen a number of patients suffering from ongoing effects of the disease.

“I'm seeing more and more patients who've had Covid-19 infection confirmed in the laboratory and on X-ray, who have cleared the infection, and are now still presenting with persistent symptoms," he said.

“Some of those symptoms are respiratory, such as breathlessness, chronic cough. And some have other symptoms such as what the patients describe as 'brain fog', and I understand that to be a difficulty in concentration. Some still have loss of sense of taste or smell.”

Dr Beckles is part of a team of specialists at the new post Covid-19 rehabilitation unit at The Wellington Hospital in London.

“I've seen a couple of patients who prior to having Covid-19 infection were people who went to the gym three or four times a week," he said. “These are people who are young and by definition, fit [and]... they are finding it difficult to resume their normal gym activities.”

Saying that some patients are scared, Dr Beckles added: “I think that's one of the key areas where the rehabilitation group helps, in terms of access to counsellors and psychologists. Because you can imagine it's awful."

He added: “They may be down, and they'll need help and support through that.”

A study by researchers at Trinity College Dublin suggests more than half of patients who get coronavirus suffer persistent fatigue, regardless of the seriousness of their infection.

The research found that even 10 weeks after recovering from Covid-19 people reported ongoing exhaustion.

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