Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust (GMMH) has launched a service to support people to recover from the lasting effects and impact of COVID-19 infection.
The Post-COVID Syndrome Service (PCSS) brings together a multi-disciplinary team of expert health professionals to help those who are suffering from Post-COVID Syndrome to improve their physical and psychological wellbeing, and daily functioning.
The PCSS will work with people to find ways to manage persisting symptoms to discover what changes can be made to help make a meaningful difference to their quality of life.
The service is now open to adults registered with a GP in the areas of Manchester, Salford, Trafford, Bolton or Wigan, alongside all Trust staff.
Dr Dale Huey, Consultant Clinical Psychologist and Strategic Lead for Primary Care Psychological Therapies at GMMH said:
“Post-COVID Syndrome, sometimes referred to as Long COVID, describes signs or symptoms that have persisted beyond 12 weeks after an infection consistent with COVID-19, where no alternative explanation has been found. Common symptoms, which can fluctuate over time, include problems with breathing, fatigue, difficulty thinking and concentrating, headache, joint or muscle pain, sleep problems and mood changes.
“Living with Post-COVID Syndrome can have a significant impact on psychological wellbeing and affect how fully people are able to live their life. The newness of the syndrome, and the fact the onset was triggered by an infectious disease beyond our control, has left many struggling with debilitating symptoms and the uncertainty of what they mean about the future.
“We are absolutely delighted to be able to launch our Post-COVID Syndrome Service, designed to help people still struggling with often significantly disabling symptoms. Who, as the world moves on from the economic, social and psychological consequences of COVID, may feel left behind, demoralised, worried and alone.
“These are our people. We will assess and help clarify the nature of the concerns people have and work collaboratively towards each individual’s most meaningful achievable goals; learning from each other as we go. Remaining curious and hopeful about the outcomes which can be achieved whilst giving support, increasing understanding and providing easy access to ways of self-managing persistent physical symptoms which have the best evidence for producing positive change.”
Rifkah Cohen, a service user of the Post-COVID Syndrome Service said:
“COVID-19 has left me with longer lasting symptoms including brain fog, breathlessness, migraines and severe fatigue. The more I try to push through the exhaustion, the more I crash and the less I achieve. It's not surprising that I get frustrated, anxious, and sad at times.
“Hearing about the new Post-COVID Syndrome Service gave me hope. I think it's really important to be proactive in managing your physical health, but it can be really tiring when living with the effects of COVID-19.
“I signed up for support because it's refreshing to be able to take time for myself, to work with a therapist, taking stock, and thinking about what I need to do next to support myself. I’m really looking forward to working on my recovery with the service.”
The PCSS team is made up of a range of different professionals for an approach to recovery. It will include Psychological Wellbeing Practitioners, Cognitive Behavioural Therapists and more senior Psychological Therapists; alongside a Clinical Health Psychologist, Neuropsychologist, Psychiatrist and Pharmacist.
The team will work closely alongside GPs and other local health services to ensure care is being provided in a holistic and collaborative way.
The service accepts self-referrals or referrals from other health professionals. The service will be available to those who are:
- living with the lasting effects and significant impact of a probable COVID-19 infection on physical wellbeing, psychological wellbeing and/or daily functioning (including cognitive function);
- feeling low, anxious or otherwise finding it difficult to adjust to their experience of COVID-19;
- over the age of 18;
- registered with a GP in Manchester, Wigan, Salford, Bolton or Trafford.
For more information, visit: gmmh.nhs.uk/post-covid-syndrome-service
Depending on need, the service may also recommend onward referral or signposting to other services, which could include physical rehabilitation services, secondary care mental health services, addictions services or urgent care services.
People living in Bury, Rochdale, Oldham, Stockport, Tameside and Glossop will be supported by a post-covid service run by Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust. penninecare.nhs.uk/postcovid.