Long-COVID recovery clinic opens at Royal Jubilee Hospital

Long-COVID recovery clinic opens at Royal Jubilee Hospital
Long, or post-COVID is when symptoms last for months or years after the illness. (Provincial Health Services Authority)

Island Health has opened a long-COVID recovery clinic at Royal Jubilee Hospital to provide people with tools to self-manage symptoms.

The clinic is an 18-month program, which can be delivered in person or virtually, that includes four provider appointments, Zoom education classes, and therapeutic group classes.

“The program offers consults with Internal Medicine or Family Practice providers, and education and support from our allied health team,” Island Health said in an emailed statement. “The care providers in the clinic can refer patients to other services or specialists, as required.”

The program is by referral only, but a positive COVID test is not a requirement.

“The clinic is staffed by a Manager, Clinical Nurse Leader, Registered Nurse, Occupational Therapist, Physiotherapist, Social Worker, Clerical Support, and Research Assistant,” Island Health said in an emailed statement. “It is supported by four physicians.”

According to the Provincial Health Services Authority, people are expected to experience persistent symptoms up to 12 weeks after a COVID infection, then if symptoms continue or worsen, labs and diagnostics should be ordered.

“Persistent symptoms of post-COVID-19 can be physical, cognitive and/or social/emotional and all must be assessed to identify potential complications,” the PHSA’s post-COVID fact sheet says. “Once complications are ruled out, these patients should be managed symptomatically.”

The sheet notes that the long-COVID clinic is meant for patients at three months post-infection.

Symptoms that should be monitored as part of long-COVID care are chest pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, anxiety, brain fog, and headache.

According to the PHSA’s website, referrals to the clinic are through family doctors or nurse practitioners.

Island Health says patients do not need to be attached to a family doctor or nurse practitioner for a referral.

READ MORE: School disruption, ‘long COVID,’ all factors in choice to vaccinate young kids: Tam

Laura BroughamLaura Brougham

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