How rehabilitation could help people with Covid-19 recover

Published by  Communications

On 24th Feb 2021

Progressive exercise and early mobilisation are among the elements of rehabilitation programmes that may improve recovery for people who are hospitalised with severe Covid-19 – according to research involving the University of East Anglia.

Researchers at UEA’s School of Health Sciences were part of a review of available evidence on whether rehabilitation benefitted patients admitted to intensive or critical care with respiratory illness, as information on people with Covid-19 was not available when the research began.

The study, led by the University of Exeter and supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Applied Research Collaboration South West Peninsula, found that progressive exercise and getting people mobile early may both help recovery from severe respiratory illness, and those findings could be applied to Covid-19 care.

The team also found that rehabilitation programmes with a number of different components could be beneficial.

Dr Jane Cross, from UEA’s School of Health Sciences, said: “We know that Covid-19 can have a lasting impact on people’s lives after leaving hospital and we wanted to find out more about how people can be best supported to regain their health once they have been discharged.

“We found that getting people moving early is key to recovery and getting people back on their feet.”

The rapid systematic review led by Prof Vickie Goodwin at the University of Exeter included 24 systematic reviews, 11 randomised control trials and eight qualitative studies, which interviewed patients about their rehabilitation, to explore their views and experience. From these interviews, the team found that rehabilitation can give hope and confidence to patients, although approaches need to be tailored to the individual.

One rehabilitation programme after hospital discharge from intensive care was found to give people a boost and a different outlook for the future. One patient said: "I just feel full of life. I can’t wait for tomorrow, you know . . . Before it was just day after day, but now it’s- I’m looking forward to tomorrow."

In another study, the recognition of setting goals to achieve small steps was an important part of recovery. A patient reported: "Well, I was shocked at how little I could do, but now, it’s the other way, I’m actually shocked at how much I can do and I am doing. It’s really good."

Study co-author Sallie Lamb, Mireille Gillings, Professor of Health Innovation at the University of Exeter Medical School, said: “Rehabilitation is a crucial element of Covid-19 care that must not be over-looked. As Covid-19 is still so new, there’s no evidence that evaluate the benefits of rehabilitation programmes for those in recovery. We now urgently need research to evaluate the benefit of programmes to patients with Covid-19 specifically.”

The research was led by Exeter University in in collaboration with Nottingham Universities NHS Trust, UEA and the University of Nottingham.

Rehabilitation to enable recovery from COVID-19: a rapid systematic review’ is published in Physiotherapy on February 24, 2021.

Study with us

Explore our research

Latest News

  News
Dr Lisa Taylor
05 Aug 2021

Pandemic-adapted placement learning model helps Associate Professor land highest teaching award

Dr Lisa Taylor, from UEA's School of Health Sciences, has reached the pinnacle of the Higher Education teaching profession, having been awarded a National...

Read more >
  News
Old film reel
03 Aug 2021

Lights, camera, representation! UEA research aims to make female filmmakers more visible

A ground-breaking project to shine a light on the role of women filmmakers, will start this month led by a team of University of East Anglia (UEA) researchers.

Read more >
  News
MRI scanner being used in the new Brain Imaging Centre
29 Jul 2021

UEA opens £3m Wellcome-Wolfson Brain Imaging Centre

UEA has officially opened the doors of its new £3m state-of-the-art neuroimaging research centre, thanks to funding totalling £1.3m from two charitable...

Read more >
  News
Ziggurats on campus
28 Jul 2021

UEA becomes one of the first universities to join University Mental Health Charter Programme

UEA is among one of the first universities in the country to join Student Minds' new University Mental Health Charter, further demonstrating and developing its...

Read more >
Are you searching for something?
  News
Ziggurats on campus
28 Jul 2021

UEA becomes one of the first universities to join University Mental Health Charter Programme

UEA is among one of the first universities in the country to join Student Minds' new University Mental Health Charter, further demonstrating and developing its...

Read more >
  News
28 Jul 2021

UEA scientists to uncover infections that could cause aggressive prostate cancer

Researchers from the University of East Anglia are investigating whether certain infections could trigger the development of aggressive prostate cancer – thanks...

Read more >
  News
28 Jul 2021

How relaxing Covid-19 restrictions could pave the way for vaccine resistance

Relaxing Covid-19 restrictions could pave the way for new vaccine-resistant virus mutations – according to researchers at the University of East Anglia and the...

Read more >
  News
27 Jul 2021

From big Cs to celebrancy - Prof Dylan Edwards says farewell to UEA after 23 years

After a career focused on the study of cancer biology Professor Dylan Edwards is looking at a completely new venture as he says farewell to UEA after 23 years.

Read more >
  News
23 Jul 2021

UEA part of £2.5 million study on links between overlapping long-term health conditions

The links between different long-term health conditions will be explored in new research funded with a £2.5 million grant from the Medical Research Council.

Read more >
  News
21 Jul 2021

The impact of climate change on Kenya's Tana River Basin

Many species within Kenya’s Tana River Basin will be unable to survive if global temperatures continue to rise as they are on track to do – according to new...

Read more >
  News
Film reel
04 Aug 2021

Back to black: Noirwich returns for an eighth year

The line-up for Norwich’s premier crime writing festival, which is co-delivered by UEA, has been announced, with authors Megan Abbott, Steph Cha and David Peace...

Read more >