Long COVID is a condition known by many names — including long-haul COVID, post-COVID, and post-acute COVID — and it can present with many, if not more, symptoms than COVID-19 itself.
Indicators of Post-COVID Conditions
- Dyspnea or increased respiratory effort
- Fatigue, post-exertional malaise, and/or poor endurance
- Brain fog, cognitive impairment
- Chest pain
- Pins-and-needles feeling
- Palpitations and/or tachycardia
- Abdominal pain
- Sleep problems
- Impaired daily function and mobility
- Rash (e.g., urticaria)
- Mood changes
- Changes in smell or taste
Long COVID is a condition defined by the length of time the symptoms persist, regardless of the symptom presentation set or the name used to refer to it. If your patient has had COVID and the symptoms persist longer than four weeks, then they may be experiencing long COVID.
How Common Is Long COVID?
“Thirty percent of people [who have had COVID] may experience prolonged fatigue, cognitive changes, continued cough, sleep disturbances, rash, changes in taste or smell, joint and muscle pain, and dizziness,” explains Camille Jordan, Senior Vice President of Clinical Services at Brookdale Senior Living.
Although not much is known about what causes long COVID, trends indicate that many patients with long COVID often share some common conditions and medical histories.
“Long COVID can impact anyone, really,” explains Jordan, “but mostly it’s people who have multiple comorbid conditions. It’s typically people who have an autoimmune disease, ongoing inflammatory condition, or dysfunctional immune response.”
Her advice for seniors who have had COVID and who continue to have lingering issues such as foggy thinking and fatigue: “Don’t just suffer in silence, and don’t think it’s a normal part of aging,” says Jordan. “If you have had COVID and you have lingering symptoms, you need to see your healthcare provider.”
So, if your patient has had COVID and also has an ongoing inflammatory condition, ask them to keep a close eye on how they feel. They may think that they’re just tired or aren’t thinking clearly, but their symptoms may be suggestive of long COVID.
However, when faced with addressing long COVID, physicians are often also faced with a knowledge gap: How can you know what changes indicative of long COVID look like if you don’t have an intimate, interpersonal knowledge of what your patients’ behaviors and habits look like on a day-to-day basis?
That’s where Brookdale comes in.
The Brookdale Difference and Long COVID
“At Brookdale, we were one of the first [senior living providers] in the nation to offer COVID-19 vaccination to our residents and lead the way with post-COVID-19 care,” explains Camille Jordan. “We have resources to help our associates monitor the physical, mental, and emotional health of residents and assist them in their recovery.”
It can be difficult for patients and physicians alike to differentiate between ongoing COVID symptoms and changes that are simply part of the aging process. That’s why it’s important for your patients to regularly interact with clinicians and care associates, such as Brookdale staff, who can notice day-to-day changes in-between doctor’s visits.
“Our clinicians can pick up on changes in condition,” says Jordan. “We’re knowledgeable of your patients’ day-to-day routine and normal habits and behaviors.”
Moreover, Brookdale has a Post-COVID Conditions Program tailored to residents with long COVID designed to help protect the patient’s health and help keep physicians in the know.
“Our Post-COVID Conditions Program offers caregivers and nurses the tools they need to help identify post-COVID symptoms, understand the condition, know what to monitor for, know how to implement early intervention strategies, and know when to notify a physician,” says Jordan.
Long COVID and Dementia
Long COVID symptoms such as brain fog and sleep disturbances can easily be confused with symptoms of dementia. Therefore, the importance of a tailored approach for patients living with dementia, plus having the benefit of care associates who see your patients on a day-to-day basis, becomes paramount.
“Because we have 24-hour-care associates on-site to help pick up on early warning signs of [a] change in condition, as well as the appropriate subject matter experts within our company that associates can rely on,” explains Jordan, “we provide an extra level of support and care that most seniors would not get if they were home by themselves.”
“We are mindful of what could be causative symptoms of the cognitive disorder and what could be the causative symptoms of post-COVID,” says Jordan. “If there is a worsening of the cognitive symptoms, we reach out to the healthcare professional to do further testing and to secure supportive care based on the behaviors and symptoms that we’re seeing.”
When a resident’s change in condition is observed, Brookdale staff’s notification to their broader internal and external care team can help to address the progression of symptoms between doctor’s appointments. It can also help put families at ease when there’s someone there to consistently monitor and observe.
To help your patients and their families find comfort and care while dealing with long COVID, call Brookdale today.
The above is shared for informational purposes only. We are not infectious disease experts and you should consult with trusted, independent, reputable sources before acting on any content on this website, especially if you have a medical condition or are at increased risk for contracting COVID-19. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical or health advice. Never disregard professional medical or health advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on our site.
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