A patient support programme from the Long COVID and post-COVID clinics in Galway University Hospitals has won a national healthcare award.
The programme won the Patient Education category in the Irish Medical Times Irish Healthcare Awards.
Long COVID is estimated to occur in 10-20% of people infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
It can cause a wide range of symptoms including fatigue; brain fog, non-restorative sleep, pain and breathlessness.
These symptoms often impact on a person’s quality of life and daily functions with work, education, parenting and self-care all being affected.
The patient education programme in GUH is in place since July 2021 and aims to enable patients to manage their personal symptom profile in a supportive and structured environment.
Speaking of the achievement Ciara Breen, Occupational Therapy Manager said; “After an evaluation of the first groups was completed the results showcased significant improvements in the areas targeted in the programme.”
The programme covers a range of areas including fatigue management, brain fog, sleep restructuring, post-exertional malaise, pacing, breathing pattern changes and relaxation.
“Patient feedback has been very positive to date, and the group approach also created a firm foundation for the therapeutic relationship to flourish for those with additional one-to-one goals afterwards.”
70% of the group participants identified work as a key area of concern, with household tasks, parenting, self-care and leisure activities also being common problems among many.
This programme is delivered online, to make it accessible to patients across the West of Ireland, by specially trained occupational therapists and physiotherapists.
It runs every week for one hour in duration, for a total of four weeks. Referrals to the program are accepted via the long COVID clinic.
Chris Kane, General Manager of Galway University Hospitals added, “This award is a recognition of the adaptability of our post COVID and long COVID clinical teams.”
“Being able to respond so innovatively to the varied needs of this patient group is a huge achievement.”
“I want to congratulate the team and thank them for continuing to put patient care at the centre of our services.”