26 September 2023

New UC clinic to treat ‘Long-COVID’ cases

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Canberra Health Services has partnered with the University of Canberra Hospital to open a new treatment clinic for people suffering serious and lingering COVID-19 symptoms.

Welcoming the opening of the clinic, Minister for Health, Rachel Stephen-Smith said the partnership would also see a research project conducted into long-COVID care at the clinic.

Ms Stephen-Smith said the Post COVID Recovery Clinic assisted patients aged 16 and over who had symptoms of COVID-19 that impacted their daily lives more than 12 weeks after contracting the virus.

“The clinic is a fantastic example of how Canberra’s healthcare workers are turning innovative research into impactful healthcare,” she said.

“For many long-COVID patients, the debilitating symptoms of the virus are compromising their quality of life.

“The Post COVID Recovery Clinic is leading the nation in providing support to those affected by long-COVID and helping them return to their day-to-day activities.”

Ms Stephen-Smith said patients at the clinic were supported by a range of allied health professionals including a rehabilitation medicine specialist, physiotherapist, occupational therapist, exercise physiologist and social worker.

“This clinic has such an important role to play in helping Canberrans get back to their family, friends, jobs and communities,” she said.

Advanced Trainee in Rehabilitation Medicine at University of Canberra Hospital, Dr Phil Gaughwin said the ACT was preparing for an increase in the number of people presenting with long-COVID symptoms.

“You had that initial peak in sort of December, January,” Dr Gaughwin said.

“(Now) will be around the time that we’ll be seeing a lot of patients coming through with long-COVID,” he said.

“The extent of that, time will tell.

“But the idea is to provide the service so that it’s ready and waiting to accept and look after them, should we have patients with really severe illness come through.”

Dr Gaughwin said Canberra’s high vaccination rate might have helped reduce the incidence of long-COVID.

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