An estimated 1 point 1 million people in the UK suffer from the disease
Last updated 2 hours ago
People in Salford living with long Covid are supported using a revolutionary mobile app and clinical website to track their recovery and improve their health.
A team from the Northern Care Alliance NHS Group (NCA) worked with the Salford City Council Health Improvement Department to support people with persistent symptoms after contracting Covid-19.
The Office of National Statistics estimates that 1.1 million people in the UK currently have long Covid, which are the persistent symptoms that last four weeks or more after contracting the virus, such as shortness of breath, fatigue, brain fog, pain, and general decline in health and well-being.
Until now, the Salford team have used the famous Yorkshire Covid-19 Rehabilitation Scale (C19-YRS) to aid in the diagnosis and assessment of long symptoms of Covid. This data was initially collected manually, with 24 patients being contacted every week since February.
Since then, there has been a call for more effective systems to manage Covid’s long and growing workload and standardize care across the NHS.
Now Salford patients will be able to download an app to their mobile device and update their progress at different stages of their recovery, allowing their clinician to make changes to their care management plan.
Taruna Patel of the Salford Single Point of Access team, said:
“The symptoms of the long Covid can be devastating for many people and we can now better understand the full spectrum of people’s symptoms.
“Our patients are very keen to use the app as another tool. By entering the information themselves, they will be able to see how their health is improving over time and use the information to discuss with their clinician, as well as to show their families.
“We used to make calls and ask people about 30 questions over the phone with varying answers. It was quite tiring for the patients and was time consuming, especially those with long severe Covid symptoms. ”
Program manager Sarah Cannon explained:
“The app means that information can now be sent electronically directly to the Long Covid clinic team, so they have information before appointments. We can even decide the length and type of appointment using the tool depending on the patient’s needs.
“The tool will also help to report the data required for the long Covid at the national level. ”
The Salford Care Organization team says patient feedback so far has been very positive.
Patient Sarah Bleasdale, 49, from Salford, who has been using the app for a few weeks, said:
“I found the app easy to download and very user-friendly. I can’t wait to use it more and am intrigued by the next step, hoping it helps me get the right support and care.
The app, developed by Elaros, in partnership with the University of Leeds NHS Trust, enables patients to self-report symptoms and the impact their symptoms have on their daily health and well-being. NHS England and NHS Improvement have recommended the use of the digital platform as part of national guidelines for post-covid syndrome assessment clinics.
The app uses the latest scientific research and guides the patient through a series of questions to record their state of health before contracting Covid, and what they are now. The information is displayed in radar plots and uploaded to the patient’s record.
Patients are encouraged to update the app regularly and over time this shows the progress they are making.
June Roberts, nurse consultant and associate director of transformation at the Northern Care Alliance NHS Group, said:
“There had been very little digital development to help us cope with the long Covid, so we were keen to get involved in this research project. The C19-YRS was a good approach to support our initial patient assessments and gave us a good holistic view, but it was tiring for the patients, so we started to review the app.
“It’s great to have been involved in the development of the app and our patients have told us they want it too.
“It will really help patients visualize their progress and allow them to have informed discussions with their clinician. It will also increase the knowledge of GPs about the progress of their patients, as we can also send information to them electronically.
“It will also help the research program, as long as Covid is so new that we don’t know how much people will suffer and how long it will take them to recover. We can contribute to national and local research and also improve our local knowledge to make sure we have the right people in the right department to support our patients. ”
Salford Royal has been named one of ten clinical research sites in the UK, under a £ 3.4million National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) funded project (the LOCOMOTION study), led locally by Professor Nawar Bakerly in collaboration with researchers from the University of Leeds. This project which will see the Elaros C-19 YRS platform adopted in the four countries. The project aims to help design new ways to optimize the delivery of treatment and services for the long-term Covid.