Rehabilitation considerations during the COVID-19 outbreak

Publication date 26 April 2020 Category
  • Infection control
  • COVID-19
  • Pandemic
  • Rehabilitation
Publishing organisation PAHO

Severe cases of COVID-19 are associated with rehabilitation needs related to the consequences of ventilatory support, and prolonged immobilization and bed rest. These may include: − Impaired lung function; − Physical deconditioning and muscle weakness; − Delirium and other cognitive impairments; − Impaired swallow and communication; and − Mental health disorders and psychosocial support needs. − Rehabilitation needs may be amplified by underlying health conditions and decrements in health associated with ageing, − Rehabilitation professionals play an important role in facilitating early discharge, which is especially critical in the context of hospital bed shortages. − Rehabilitation needs of people with severe COVID-19 exist during the acute, sub-acute and long-term phases of care; rehabilitation professionals should be positioned in ICUs, hospital wards, stepdown facilities and in the community. − Particularly in the acute phase, rehabilitation interventions for patients with severe COVID-19 requiring ventilatory support generally require a particular skill-set acquired through specialist training.

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