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Warning of need for long-term care for coronavirus survivors as Surrey rehab centre takes in patients

3 minute read
Warning of need for long-term care for coronavirus survivors as Surrey rehab centre takes in patients

Published by the Eagle Radio News Team at 10:02am 29th May 2020. (Updated at 10:03am 29th May 2020)

Whe head of the NHS  has warned of an upsurge in coronavirus survivors needing long-term care - as the country's first Covid-19 rehabilitation centre starts treating patients in Surrey.

The NHS Seacole Centre at Headley Court near Leatherhead will be used as a temporary service for patients who are recovering from coronavirus and who no longer need care in an acute hospital.

It will also be used to treat those who have the virus and can no longer cope with their symptoms at home.

Patients will receive treatments for tracheostomy wounds and therapy to recover heart, lung and muscle function, as well as help with mental health issues such as PTSD and anxiety.

Others may need help with their speech and social care support for basic, everyday needs.

Speaking when he visited the site yesterday (28 May), Sir Simon Stevens, NHS chief executive, said the need for rehab comes after infections have passed the peak:

"While our country is now emerging from the initial peak of coronavirus, we're now seeing a substantial new need for rehab and aftercare for COVID patients who've come through this terrible illness."

Doctors are recognising that COVID-19 is more than just a respiratory condition. It can be a devastating multi-system disease. Survivors might suffer heart failure and strokes.

And after long spells on ventilators in an intensive care unit, there is a longer term mental health impact to be considered with possible PTSD, cognitive damage and the resulting anxiety it causes.

The scale of rehabilitation for these coronavirus survivors is huge.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said for some it can be debilitating with long term impact:

"The new NHS Seacole Centre is just the start as the NHS rapidly strengthens community support to help those affected return home to their loved ones, and to full health."

The disused military hospital has been repurposed to provide local care and was opened earlier this month by the Health Secretary and Chief Nursing Officer for England, Ruth May.

NHS Seacole Hospital Tim Oliver, Arlene Wellman and Matt Hancock (on screen)
The centre was opened earlier this month virtually by the Health Secretary and Chief Nursing Officer for England.

NHS England says more regional specialist rehab centres will open.