- “People experiencing ongoing or “long-haul” symptoms after COVID-19 illness were more likely to report pain, challenges with physical activities, and “substantially worse health,” compared with people needing rehabilitation because of cancer, lead author Jessica Rogers-Brown, PhD, and colleagues report.”
- “Compared with people referred for cancer rehabilitation, those with COVID-19 symptoms lasting beyond 4 weeks were
- 2.3 times more likely to report pain,
- 1.8 times more likely to report worse physical health, and
- 1.6 times more likely to report difficulty with physical activities,
- an adjusted odds ratio analysis reveals.
- …” results indicate that post–COVID-19 patients specifically referred to a large physical rehabilitation network had poorer health measures than those referred for cancer, which indicates that some patients recovering from COVID-19 had substantial rehabilitation needs.”
JAMA. 2021;326(8):692. doi:10.1001/jama.2021.12353
Bridget M. Kuehn, MSJ
Results from a recent study show the substantial toll that COVID-19 has taken on some people: those referred to outpatient rehabilitation clinics for post–COVID-19 care were twice as likely as the clinics’ patients with cancer to be in poor physical health or in pain.
The analysis is based on data comparing the physical and mental health status of 1295 patients who had post–COVID-19 symptoms with a control group of 2395 patients with cancer, all of whom were referred for outpatient rehabilitation between January 2020 and March 2021.
About one-third of the patients who had COVID-19 described their general health as fair or poor compared with one-quarter of the patients with cancer. A greater proportion of patients with post–COVID-19 symptoms also said their mental health was fair or poor. And although they were more likely than the control group to be male, younger, and employed, 72% of patients who had COVID-19 had generalized muscle weakness compared with about 40% of the patients with cancer.
Pain and difficulty with physical activities were more common among patients with post–COVID-19 symptoms: more than one-third said they found it difficult to complete chores, navigate stairs, run errands or shop, and walk for 15 minutes. Working in or outside the home was more difficult than usual for 37% of those who survived COVID-19, and 33% said social activities were challenging. In contrast, about 20% of the control group said either activity was problematic.
After COVID-19, patients averaged 9 outpatient rehabilitation visits compared with 5 visits for the control group. “Health care systems and providers should be prepared to recognize and meet the ongoing needs of this patient population,” the authors wrote.
Download the 1 page PDF from VitaminDWiki