News posted 9 November, 2020

COVID-19 patients in Manchester to benefit from specialist recovery programme

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Nuffield Health is launching a free 12-week programme in partnership with Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust

Nuffield Health, the UK’s largest healthcare charity, is launching a specialist 12-week rehabilitation programme in Manchester to support patients in their recovery after they have received medical treatment for COVID-19. The programme blends together physical therapy and mental health support and will be run in partnership with Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, as well as other trusts across the UK, before being developed into a national programme.

Patients are currently discharged from hospital with no formal recovery plan, which can result in a longer recovery process, and prolonged side effects. Patients will be referred onto the programme by the Trust, before being triaged, online, by a specially trained Nuffield Health physiotherapist.

Over the 12-week programme, patients will work with a rehabilitation specialist for personalised advice and on a recovery plan, consisting of a 6 week virtual programme of at home exercises, before moving to a Nuffield Health fitness and wellbeing centre. Patients will also receive access to on-demand workouts, weekly support calls and be part of a cohort of participants where they can share their experiences.

Evidence from previous epidemics, like SARS and MERS, demonstrate it can take years for some patients to recover. The effects of COVID-19 leaves some patients with lasting physical damage and scarring to their lungs, resulting in difficulty with breathing and mobility. It also can exacerbate underlying health issues, like heart disease, diabetes and mental health conditions. NICE guidance indicates out of hospital rehabilitation strategies, following discharge after a critical illness, have been shown to help to improve patient recovery and long-term side effects by up to 50%.[1] The Nuffield Health programme has been designed by a wide range of clinical teams, including respiratory experts, physiotherapists, emotional wellbeing and clinical exercise specialists.

Dr Davina Deniszczyc, Charity and Medical Director at Nuffield Health, said: “We know that some patients who have contracted Covid-19 are going to need specialist support for their rehabilitation. As the UK’s largest healthcare charity, our purpose is to build a healthier nation and we’re proud to partner with the NHS to offer patients this free pilot to help their recovery.

“We are in a unique position among the fitness sector to utilise our broad range of expertise, across clinical, fitness and mental health to develop a programme to support the nation as it recovers from COVID-19. We will be capturing data throughout the programme, specifically at weeks 0, 6 and 12, to enable outcomes to be measured and evaluate the success of the programme. We will use these learnings to build and develop a national programme, sharing the data with the NHS and other healthcare providers.”

Professor Jane Eddleston, Joint Group Executive Medical Director, Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, Chair of NHS England Adult Critical Care Clinical Reference Group, said, “Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust is delighted to be working with Nuffield Health to deliver this unique personalised programme of rehabilitation to our patients who have developed critical illness consequent on COVID. Recovery of patients after a period of critical illness is recognised as a major challenge and this programme will significantly help our patients to recover their health.”