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RehabilitationJun 16, 2021

World Physiotherapy launches best practice guide on rehabilitation and long Covid

World Physiotherapy – which represents national professional bodies from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe and beyond – has unveiled a ‘best practice’ guide on rehabilitation and long Covid.   

Tracy Bury, a physio by background who is World Physiotherapy’s deputy chief executive officer, said: ‘Physiotherapists can play an important role in the rehabilitation of people living with long Covid, to guide the need for safe and effective rehabilitation that recognises the complexity and variability for those with long Covid.'

Photo Credit: Shutterstock
The guidance tackles the need to ensure long Covid rehab programmes are safe (stock image)

Power Diary 3rd May 2022
Power Diary 3rd May 2022

Physiotherapists can play an important role in the rehabilitation of people living with long Covid, to guide the need for safe and effective rehabilitation that recognises the complexity and variability for those with long Covid [Tracy Bury, World Physiotherapy]

Taking a wide perspective is vital

Ms Bury said physiotherapists needed to look beyond simply promoting physical activity and focus on other important factors in symptom management. ‘This paper presents a best practice guide and will be invaluable for physiotherapists in different locations and settings,’ she added.

The publication, titled ‘Safe rehabilitation approaches for people living with Long Covid: physical activity and exercise,’ was published today (16 June).

One in a series of briefing papers produced by World Physiotherapy on issues relating to Covid-19, it was drawn up by, among others, practitioners, academics and community groups from around the world. The guidance is designed to help physiotherapists and other healthcare professionals to assess and treat people with long Covid.

Key topics include:

  • post-exertional symptom exacerbation
  • cardiac impairment
  • exertional oxygen desaturation
  • how a person’s autonomic nervous system can interact with rehabilitation programmes, including physical activity

Physiotherapist Darren Brown: 'filling a gap in the literature'

Darren Brown, a specialist physiotherapist in HIV and oncology who is living with long Covid, said: ‘This briefing paper presents vital considerations for the prescription of rehabilitation. Safe and effective rehabilitation is a fundamental part of recovery from illness and can improve function in people living with disability.'

Mr Brown said millions of people around the world are living with long Covid and that a ‘disability inclusion’ approach had to be central to all responses to the condition.

He added: ‘This paper addresses an existing literature gap, to support communities, clinicians, researchers, service providers and policy makers in delivering safe rehabilitation approaches.'

Darren Brown is the co-founder of Long COVID Physio, a global peer support and advocacy group for physiotherapists (also known as physical therapists) and support workers with the condition. Visit: https://longcovid.physio

To download a copy of ‘Safe rehabilitation approaches for people living with Long Covid: physical activity and exercise’ visit: https://world.physio/sites/default/files/2021-06/Briefing_Paper_9_Long_Covid_Final.pdf

Author: Ian A McMillan
Power Diary 3rd May 2022
Power Diary 3rd May 2022
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