NHS to launch online COVID-19 rehab service

A new on-demand recovery service is being set up to help people with the long-term effects of coronavirus.

Your COVID Recovery will see nurses and physiotherapists available to reply to patients’ needs either online or over the phone.

It forms part of NHS plans to expand access to COVID-19 rehabilitation treatments for those who have survived the virus but still have problems with breathing, mental health or other complications.

Those who have had the virus will have access to a face-to-face consultation with their local rehabilitation team.

Following this initial assessment, those who need it will be offered a personalised package of online-based aftercare lasting up to 12 weeks, available later this summer.

NHS England

COVID-19 patient rehabilitation guide

A new booklet aims to provide patients and their families with information on all aspects of the COVID-19 rehabilitation process.

A group of Allied Health Professionals from Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust developed the booklet from original work by the Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital.

Key areas include breathing, exercise, diet, swallowing and speech, fatigue and post traumatic stress.

Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

Additional support for pregnant women from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds

NHS England is rolling out additional support for pregnant women from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds, as new research shows black pregnant women are eight times more likely to be admitted to hospital with COVID-19, while Asian women are four times as likely.

Women from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds have long been known to face additional maternity risks, with maternal mortality rates significantly higher than for white women.

Now, research from Oxford University has shown 55% of the pregnant women admitted to hospital with COVID-19 are from a Black, Asian and minority ethnic background, despite only making up a quarter of the births in England and Wales.

England’s most senior midwife, Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent, has written to all maternity units in the country calling on them to take four actions to minimise the additional risk of COVID-19 for women from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds and their babies. They are:

  • Increasing support of at-risk pregnant women. For example, making sure clinicians have a lower threshold to review, admit and consider multidisciplinary escalation
  • Reaching out to pregnant women from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds with tailored communications
  • Ensuring hospitals discuss vitamins, supplements and nutrition in pregnancy with all women
  • Ensuring all providers record the ethnicity of every woman, as well as other risk factors

NHS England

Barriers to accessing mental health support during a pandemic

A new report by PIF member Mind aims to understand the impact of coronavirus on people with mental health problems.

More than 16,000 people shared their experiences of mental health during the pandemic for the research.

Of those, one in three adults and more than one in four young people said they did not access support during lockdown because they did not think they deserved it.

A quarter of adults and young people who tried to access support were unable to do so. 

Not feeling comfortable using phone or video call technology was one of the main barriers to accessing support.


COVID-19 risk assessment

An occupational risk assessment tool is being used to help assess an individual's vulnerability to COVID-19.

Covid-age, developed by the Association of Local Authority Medical Advisors, summarises vulnerability for combinations of risk factors including age, sex and ethnicity and various health problems. 

The tool 'translates' the risk associated with each risk factor into years which are added to, or subtracted from, an individual’s actual age.

This then gives a single overall measure of vulnerability.


Accessible COVID-19 Test and Protect information

Information on Scotland's COVID-19 Test and Protect service is now available in accessible formats and different languages.

A letter containing a leaflet and step by step guide to NHS Scotland Test and Protect has been sent to every household in Scotland.

The information has also been made available to download in Audio MP3, BSL and easy read formats, as well as several different languages.


Coronavirus and children living in poverty

A new report examines the impact of coronavirus on children living in poverty.

The report by The Childhood Trust says the crisis is adversely and disproportionately affecting disadvantaged children and young people.

It draws together some of the 'most pressing' concerns the government and third sector organisations need to address, including educational learning loss, mental health concerns and hunger and food insecurity.

The Childhood Trust

The impact of coronavirus on young people with cancer

A report into the impact of coronavirus on young people with cancer has called for clear communication which allows those affected to make informed decisions.

The report by the Teenage Cancer Trust includes data from an anonymous online survey asking young people about the impact of COVID-19 on their life, wellbeing and cancer care.

Recommendations in the report include:

  • Supporting young people with cancer's holistic needs, including specialist psychological support
  • Giving young people the confidence to make informed decisions about returning to school or work
  • Ensuring government communication is clear and involving cancer charities in messaging
  • Emergency funding for teenage and young adult cancer care

Teenage Cancer Trust

Hospital discharge during the COVID-19 pandemic

In this blog, David Liley shares the lessons Healthwatch Brighton and Hove learned about hospital discharge from its rapid response to COVID-19.

He says the NHS needs to look closely at the advice and information provided to patients and their families on discharge with too many instances of this 'failing to reach a good standard'.

Crucially, patients need to be given reliable and up-to-date information on where, and how, they can get support once they are home.

NHS Confederation

People living with cancer offered access to video consultations

A service offering specialist information and support on cancer, its treatment and possible side effects is now available digitally, free of charge.

Boots, in partnership with PIF member Macmillan Cancer Support, has more than 2,000 trained Boots Macmillan Information Pharmacists (BMIPs). 

It has now worked with digital healthcare provider Livi to make the service available to those who are shielding or would prefer to stay at home.


'Being a patient' report released

The Patients Association has released the first report from its patient experience programme.

It says there is an opportunity to refine how patient experience is understood across the health and care system and how that understanding is deployed to benefit patients. 

The report outlines ideas for further investigation, including:

  • Exploring attitudes to the term 'patient' more fully and identifying ways in which it can be most appropriately used
  • A new approach to defining and evaluating patient experience which moves away from the traditional focus on service delivery
  • Further research into why traditional patient experience discourse has not driven as much change in how services are delivered as hoped
  • A collaborative approach to understanding patient experience

Patients Association

Survey: Assistive technology

A survey has been launched to help identify a list of priority assistive technology products that every person with a disability should have access to.

The British Assistive Technology Association launched the survey, in collaboration with WHO-GATE, to help define national priorities for tech every person with disabilities should have regardless of circumstances.

They are particularly keen to hear from users of assistive technology and their family members, disabled people's organisations and rehabilitation professionals.

British Assistive Technology Association