The interdisciplinary team behind an innovative digital programme to support COVID-19 patients’ recovery have been in the final shortlist for the Royal College of Physicians Excellence in Patient Care Award.
After a difficult year full of unprecedented challenges for all physicians and healthcare professionals, the awards aim to recognise, celebrate and promote the work that physicians do to improve patient care through education, policy, clinical practice and research.
The Living With Covid Recovery programme, which is supported by the NIHR Applied Research Collaborations (ARCs) for North Thames and Wessex, was shortlisted for the ‘Digital Award’, which recognises the use of new or existing technologies.
The rehabilitation programme aims to support patients who have had COVID infection and are continuing to recover and rehabilitate. It targets primary symptoms that ‘long-haulers’ report experiencing for many weeks and even months after the peak of their infection – such as fatigue, anxiety and breathing problems. The programme combines evidence-based methods from physiotherapists, psychologists, dieticians and respiratory physicians to create bespoke treatment plans for each patient, and was developed in collaboration with health and care professionals and patients.
By delivering aspects of rehabilitation remotely, the programme helps NHS staff support more patients than would normally be possible in a timely and cost-effective way. As of May 2021, Living With Covid Recovery is currently helping over 430 patients with their recovery across over 15 NHS clinics.
Dr William Ricketts, Consultant Chest Physician, Barts Health NHS Trust, said:
“It is an honour to be shortlisted for this award, which highlights so many great examples of innovative work going on in the NHS at what has been such a challenging time. The project has been a truly collaborative effort involving physiotherapists, psychologists, dieticians, respiratory physicians and digital health experts all working together towards a common goal to aid patients’ recovery and help prevent our services being overwhelmed by the vast numbers needing help.”
Prof Elizabeth Murray, Deputy Director (Clinical) at UCL Institute of Healthcare Engineering said:
“We are delighted to see this programme being recognised by these awards at the same time as we continue to roll out the service across more NHS trusts. It is rewarding to know that more patients experiencing the debilitating symptoms of Long Covid can access supported rehabilitation therapy to help them recover.”
The full interdisciplinary team is led by University College London (UCL) and Barts Health NHS Trust, in collaboration with UCLPartners, ARC North Thames and ARC Wessex, University of Southampton and University of Exeter. The app and dashboard have been developed by Living With, a private digital health company that already delivers a range of remote condition management products across the NHS.