COVID-19 and occupational therapy

The UK is now faced with a tidal wave of need for rehabilitation services and occupational therapists are uniquely placed to help with it.

As a result of COVID-19, The Royal College of Occupational Therapists (RCOT) in England and across the UK expects a significant increase in demand for occupational therapy services. Occupational therapy restores a person’s quality of life, giving back independence and reducing the need for ongoing health and social care support.

If you are working on stories regarding post-COVID care and rehabilitation in England,
RCOT has a number of spokespeople available for comment. Case studies might also be possible:

• The head of Occupational Therapy services at a London Foundation NHS Trust who has recently been working on the ground to prepare health and care settings in London to prepare for people needing rehabilitation in relation to COVID-19. They have worked with offenders and prisoners as a psychiatric liaison, as well as in A and E caring for those with dementia, and in community rehabilitation.

• The lead of Allied Health Professional (AHP) groups that deliver community services in South East England. They recently led the AHP network looking at learnings from COVID-19 and what the rehabilitation needs are for the patients recovering from the virus. They have also have experience in mental and physical health.

Some key stats:
• RCOT evidence shows that:
o Nearly 50% of people who have been in hospital with COVID-19 are likely to need some form of rehabilitation as part of their recovery with a further 5% requiring more intensive rehabilitation.
o Less than one third of intensive care (ICU) patients (with a stay of 3 days or more) will return to their baseline function after 6 months.
o Fatigue and ongoing respiratory problems are common, and the high inflammatory burden associated with the virus can induce vascular inflammation and cardiac problems.
• A significant number of people experience cognitive and mental health difficulties post-acute illness.
• A number of people will struggle to return to work or to return to their previous job role / salary. Nearly a third of people with post intensive care syndrome (PICs) do not return to work, and a further third do not return to their previous income.

Leave a Reply