Vocational rehabilitation in long Covid

Rehab Jigsaw

“Occupational therapy (OT) is a science degree-based, health and social care profession, regulated by the Health and Care Professions Council. Occupational therapy takes a “whole-person approach” to both mental and physical health and wellbeing and enables individuals to achieve their full potential” – Royal College of Occupational Therapists, 2018.

Occupational Therapy is the provision of practical support to help people living with illness (mental and/or physical) to complete everyday activities that are important to them – whether these be related to personal, domestic, leisure, social or vocational skills. It is these daily activities, or occupations, that enable people to live independently, with a sense of purpose and meaning. We are just beginning to understand how the longer-term impact of “Long-Covid” is impacting those who contracted the virus. These people report symptoms which may include:

  • respiratory symptoms and conditions such as chronic cough, shortness of breath, lung inflammation and fibrosis, and pulmonary vascular disease
  • cardiovascular symptoms and disease such as chest tightness, acute myocarditis and heart failure
  • protracted loss or change of smell and taste
  • mental health problems including depression, anxiety and cognitive difficulties
  • inflammatory disorders such as myalgia, multisystem inflammatory syndrome, Guillain-Barre syndrome, or neuralgic amyotrophy
  • gastrointestinal disturbance with diarrhoea
  • continuing headaches
  • fatigue, weakness and sleeplessness
  • liver and kidney dysfunction
  • clotting disorders and thrombosis
  • lymphadenopathy
  • skin rashes

There are major studies presently in progress to try to evaluate the long-term health and psychosocial effects and for the present time, those with symptoms are advised to speak to their GP about local care pathways and healthcare providers can also refer to patients to an online Covid-19 recovery programme  https://www.yourcovidrecovery.nhs.uk/your-road-to-recovery/what-next/.

Employers may be unsure of what they can do to assist employees returning to work post-Covid-19. Occupational Therapists are specialists in enabling people with health difficulties to complete activities, or occupations, which are essential to their daily living. Long-Covid may leave those affected, many of working age, with a range of symptoms and some require specialist support to be able to return to and sustain their employment.

Occupational Therapists are uniquely placed health care professionals with core skills of task analysis, or functional assessment. Occupational Therapists provide holistic assessments to identify barriers to independent living and vocational tasks – we look at physical, psychological, social and environmental issues and identify strategies to assist people to become more independent.

Occupational Therapists in vocational rehabilitation work with employers, Human Resource departments and Occupational Health professionals. Occupational Therapists assess essential job demands alongside a person’s health to make recommendations to return to work or remain in work. We focus on functional ability and assess, analyse and solve problems. We provide advice on reasonable adjustments and on absence management. Our intervention can help those with Long-Covid improve their lives, prevent ill-health and injury, educate employees and employers, treat the individual and save money.

Contact us

If you are would like to discuss our services with us, please contact us. We would be happy to talk through how Rehab Jigsaw can help you.

Rehab Jigsaw Ltd was established by Occupational Therapists and is managed by Occupational Therapists. We understand your needs and have a team of experienced, skilled and professional Occupational Therapists to offer services across the UK. We are more than happy to discuss your specific needs – contact us for further details

Lisa Harrison
Occupational Therapist and Director
Rehab Jigsaw  
www.rehabjigsaw.co.uk Membership number BU62394