According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the total COVID-19 case tally has already crossed 7.6 million in India on 21 October, with 740090 active cases. Therefore, in a bid to speed up the recovery process of the rising number of COVID-19 patients who are suffering from midterm and long term persistent effects of the infection, Apollo has launched recovery clinics across the hospital network.
These Post-COVID Recovery Clinics will be manned by a team of specialists and will include neurologists and immunologists to help patients deal with the aftermath of COVID-19 and restore them to health.
About 50% of COVID patients suffer from problems that include breathlessness, chest pain and heart issues, joint pains, vision problems, and memory loss months after contracting the novel Coronavirus.
The Vice-Chairperson of Apollo Hospitals Group, Preetha Reddy, said, ‘We had realized early on that addressing the COVID challenge would require a comprehensive response plan and had launched Project Kavach in March this year, which integrated all aspects from patient education, screening and assessment, testing, to infrastructure for quarantine and treatment.’
Adding to this she mentioned, ‘With COVID showing that it has lingering effects in patients who have recovered from the virus infection, it became necessary to add the element of post-recovery care to help recovered patients return to their normal life. We are launching these clinics across the group network in various cities. The Post-COVID Recovery Clinics would be a one-stop-shop for patients who have recovered from COVID-19 but still have persistent medical effects and symptoms. The clinics will enable us to provide coordinated care without the patient having to run around to different specialists and avoid duplication of testing that a patient might otherwise undergo.’
Speaking along the same lines, Apollo’s Senior Consultant, Infectious Diseases, Dr V. Ramasubramanian said, ‘Many patients who have recovered from COVID-19 at our hospitals have been contacting us for symptoms that they are having, and not knowing where to go for them. To address these health issues faced by patients who have recovered from COVID-19, we have started the Post-COVID Recovery Clinics.’
COVID-19 impacts almost all the vital organs in the body. Apart from acute events like stroke and myocardial infarction, chronic conditions like diabetes and hypertension are part of the post-COVID syndrome. Sudden deaths in post-covid patients have been reported across the country and most of these are attributed to acute cardiac events.
‘COVID-19 attacks not just the lungs but other organs in the body and leaves behind lingering health issues. Some of the manifestations occur weeks and months after the treatment for an acute phase is completed and the patient has recovered and impacts the well-being of individuals beyond the acute phase. While longer-term problems are more common among patients who have been hospitalized, even patients who have recovered from a mild case can suffer from the prolonged effects of the virus. Some of the long-term effects may be severe and disabling in nature. This specialized clinic will enable us to monitor symptoms of patients on an ongoing basis and deliver timely medical attention,’ said Dr Sundararajan, Senior Consultant Pulmonologist, Apollo Hospitals.
Further, Dr Suresh, Senior Consultant, Infectious Diseases, Apollo Hospitals said, ‘Before COVID-19, we were already facing a tsunami of NCDs that were responsible for over 70% of the deaths. The post-COVID syndrome is adding to this disease load and if not addressed with a special focus will lead to an increase in morbidity and mortality beyond the pandemic with a large number of chronically ill individuals who have recovered from COVID. The specialised clinics will prevent acute components of the post-COVID syndrome from progressing further and effectively manage the chronic situations which form part of the post-COVID syndrome through a patient-focused, comprehensive, teleconsult and clinic-based program.’
The Post-COVID Recovery Clinics will initially be launched in Apollo hospitals treating COVID in Chennai, Madurai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Mysore, Kolkata, Bhubaneswar, Guwahati, Delhi, Indore, Lucknow, Mumbai and Ahmedabad. The clinics will be manned by a dedicated team consisting of a Family Physician assisted by a nurse.
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