Doha, 8 September, 2021: World Physiotherapy Day takes place every year on 8 September. In 2021 the day will focus on Long COVID and physiotherapy. The Physiotherapy Department is currently at the frontline of providing physiotherapy services to recovering COVID-19 patients who have varied, and complex needs due to complications associated with the virus.
“We are recognizing some of the effects of long COVID symptoms as being really common, such as fatigue, breathlessness, and muscle weakness,” said Chief of Physiotherapy at HMC, Ms. Noora Al Mudahka. “Long COVID is a multi-system disease; there are over 200 listed symptoms which occur in variable combinations and can fluctuate in both predictable and unpredictable patterns of flare-ups and remissions.”
Ms. Al Mudahka said that this year on World Physiotherapy Day, the department was highlighting the role physiotherapy is playing in helping patients who have recovered from COVID-19 on their journey back to health.
“Long COVID has been preliminarily defined as the presence of signs and symptoms that develop during or following an infection consistent with COVID-19 which continue for 12 weeks or more. Typically, it is referred to as acute COVID-19 until four weeks and ongoing COVID-19 from four to 12 weeks,” she said.
The World Health Organization recommends that Long COVID rehabilitation should include educating people about resuming everyday activities conservatively, at an appropriate pace that is safe and manageable for energy levels within the limits of current symptoms, and exertion should not be pushed to the point of fatigue or worsening of symptoms.
“Physiotherapy includes exercise interventions and patient education in resuming everyday activities conservatively, at an appropriate pace that is safe and manageable for energy levels within the limits of current symptoms. An individualized multidimensional exercise program facilitates in reducing the symptoms and improving patient’s strength and endurance. “
“Physiotherapists work in a multitude of clinical settings, from working with our youngest patients to patients in intensive care units, to supporting patients of long-term care rehabilitation facilities and in the community. Our team includes specialties such as orthopedics, neurology, cardiorespiratory, pediatrics, women’s health, men’s health, geriatrics, oncology, community-based physiotherapy, and mental health,” Ms. Al Mudahka added.
Across HMC’s designated COVID facilities (Hazm Mebeireek General Hospital, Hamad General Hospital, Al Wakra Hospital and Mesaeed Hospital) more than 800 patients were treated by the physiotherapy team, in order to help them breathe better and move early.
“This started in the Intensive Care Units and continued all the way to the patient’s home after discharge from hospital. This has facilitated better recovery of patients and a reduced length of stay,” Ms. Mudahka said
“COVID-19 presented us with a number of challenges and our work continues with patients who are recovering from the virus. Rehabilitation for Long COVID must be tailored to the individual, depending on their symptoms, goals and preferences.”
In the beginning of 2021, the Department launched an online exercise video portal for the referred patients which now hosts more than 700 instructional exercise videos enabling them to continue their recovery outside a clinical setting. The large database of online exercise programs enable patients to use them through their mobile or computer via a secure channel, maintaining patient confidentiality and keeping in consideration the safety of the patients. The videos encourage patient to follow the customized home programs and help them in their journey to recovery while their Physiotherapist track their performance online. Currently more than 1000 customized exercise programs have also been sent to the patients in the state of Qatar. The Physiotherapy of Hamad Medical Corporation was the pioneer in launching such a self-developed model of care through an online platform.
To know more about physiotherapy and its services, please visit https://www.hamad.qa/en/hospitals-and-services/physiotherapy/pages/default.aspx