Hundreds of people across Walsall are being supported by the Long Covid Therapy Service which visits and assesses patients to offer a range of help – from exercise programmes to Tai Chi, acupuncture and financial advice.
The Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust service was set up at the end of 2021 and the team consists of Annette Ellison, Physiotherapist, Emma Cahill, Occupational Therapist and Caron Wallace, Therapy Assistant Practitioner.
The team works alongside the Trust’s Consultant-led Community Long Covid Service which offers Psychology support, access to a Dietitian, the Self Care Management Service and Critical Care follow-up clinics.
More than 400 patients – both those admitted to hospital with COVID-19 as well as those who were not – have used the service.
Louise Mobley, Therapy Clinical Team Lead explained that all had been considerably impacted by their symptoms.
“We see 35–55-year-olds in the main but have also supported patients aged 18 and 102,” she said.
“While we mainly visit patients in their own homes and care homes we also support people in their workplaces or GP clinics – even at their local leisure centre if that works best for them.
“We have Physiotherapy who focus on holistic physical assessments to include neurological and respiratory problems, exercise programmes, Tai Chi, mobility rehabilitation and help with balance and dizziness. Our Occupational Therapist supports with hand and upper limb therapy, advises on equipment and adaptations, acupuncture, driving assessments and work-related rehabilitation.
“And both work closely to support patients who may need help to apply for a blue badge, or additional financial aid and accompanied visits to medical appointments. A lot of liaison takes place between the team and GPs around ongoing medication, referrals and orthotics.”
Louise added that earlier this year the service did a national presentation to members of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy and the Royal College of Occupational Therapists about Long Covid and the upper limb.
She said: “They presented to almost 100 people and certainly put Walsall on the map. They are doing some fantastic work with patients that have been affected by Covid in so many ways.
“Their passion and dedication to their patients is inspiring and they have demonstrated how the specialist and adaptable skills which Physiotherapists and Occupational Therapists have, support patients to regain their independence and quality of life.”