Physical Therapists (PTs), Occupational Therapists (OTs), and Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs) play a key role in the pandemic. They can help in the recovery process for patients suffering from lasting symptoms associated with SARS-CoV-2, also known as COVID-19.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new information last week about how to care for patients with post-COVID conditions (commonly referred to as long COVID). The guidelines support “creating a comprehensive rehabilitation plan . . . that might include physical and occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, vocational therapy, as well as neurologic rehabilitation for cognitive symptoms.”
PTs, OTs, and SLPs are widely recognized as being an important part of the long COVID recovery process. This does, however, mark the first time that the CDC has officially acknowledged rehab therapists’ role in post-COVID patient recovery. Now we will explore some of the highlights from the new guidance.
Post-COVID Conditions Guidelines at a Glance
These guidelines may change as we learn more about these conditions over time. The CDC has created a list of clinical updates to use when managing lingering symptoms after a SARS-CoV-2 diagnosis. First, we will begin by exploring symptoms.
The guidelines include a list of symptoms patients with post-COVID conditions may experience. Some of the most common symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Joint pain
- Muscle pain and weakness
- Impaired daily function and mobility
The good news is that these symptoms can be greatly improved by working with qualified Physical Therapists, Occupational Therapists, and Speech Therapists. Next, we will explore updates in testing measures.
A lack of lab or imaging abnormalities does not disprove the existence, severity, or importance of a patient’s symptoms or conditions. Because of this, the CDC specifically noted that providers shouldn’t rely only on objective laboratory or imaging findings to confirm a diagnosis of post-COVID conditions. Lastly, we will cover information about misdiagnosis.
The CDC also emphasized how important it is for providers to “listen to and validate patients’ experiences.” This comes as some post-virus conditions were found to be misdiagnosed as mental health issues—especially among marginalized patient populations.
In summary, the CDC’s recently published guidelines about long COVID include new information about the post-virus conditions. The guidelines include updates in symptoms, testing, and the potential for misdiagnosis. While there is still much to be learned about post-virus conditions, this news from the CDC provides hope for patients suffering from these troublesome conditions.
Are you or a loved one experiencing any long COVID symptoms? Contact us today to start your journey toward recovery.