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April 2020

Charities launch online support hub for people with post-COVID breathlessness



Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation have launched a Post-COVID online HUB, and dedicated helpline to support people affected by breathing difficulties after COVID.

While evidence on the long-term health effects of COVID is still emerging, a range of early studies have suggested that people hospitalised with severe symptoms from COVID-19 are developing chronic respiratory symptoms.

Post-Covid.org.uk  is a hub for patients, healthcare professionals and researchers. It brings together the latest thinking and encourages collaboration to ensure anyone with lasting respiratory impacts from COVID can enjoy the best possible health and quality of life.

With support from academics and professional bodies, including the British Thoracic Society and Primary Care Respiratory Society, the online hub has curated the emerging evidence on respiratory health post-COVID and most relevant guidance. A collaboration will be established to better define the care needed to support those with post-COVID complications. Currently, the organisations believe that access to comprehensive tailored rehabilitation services at home will be vital for recovery. 

The hub aims to bring researchers together to lead ground-breaking post-COVID research, to better understand the long-term effects of COVID on respiratory health. The hub will include the latest information on the impact of COVID-19 on people’s long-term physical and mental health, particularly following intensive care treatment, as well as using existing research and knowledge to identify treatments for potential post-COVID lung damage.

Kay Boycott, chief executive of Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation, said: ‘There are worrying signs that COVID may impact lung health longer term. We support thousands of people with breathing difficulties and understand the toll it takes on daily life. At a time when the NHS is under immense pressure, we want to ensure anyone whose respiratory health is affected post-COVID can get the support they need. We also want to ensure that research and clinical services develop so we can effectively treat any new chronic breathlessness emerging from this crisis.’

Carol Stonham MBE, chair of the Primary Care Respiratory Society and Senior NHS Nurse Practitioner (respiratory) welcomed the introduction of the Post-COVID HUB. She said: ‘These are times of rapid change with many people recovering from sudden episodes of severe illness requiring critical care, then returning to community or primary care for ongoing management. Some will sustain ongoing lung damage, others psychological trauma. The sharing of resources allows clinicians to care for people safely and effectively wherever care needs to be delivered.’