In a recent study published in Nature, the national healthcare databases of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs was used to “systematically and comprehensively identify consequences after 6-months being infected by COVID-19, including diagnoses, medication use, and laboratory abnormalities in 30-day survivors.” The study revealed that “beyond the first 30 days of illness, people with COVID-19 exhibit higher risk of death and health resource utilization.”
Consequences identified during the study include respiratory system and several others including “nervous system and neurocognitive disorders, mental health disorders, metabolic disorders, cardiovascular disorders, gastrointestinal disorders, malaise, fatigue, musculoskeletal pain, and anemia.” The highest use of “therapeutics including pain medications (opioids and non-opioids), antidepressants, anxiolytics, antihypertensives, and oral hypoglycemics” was also observed.
Bottom line: the findings support that beyond the acute illness, substantial burden of health loss, spanning pulmonary and several extrapulmonary organ systems, is experienced by COVID-19 survivors. It is critical that we are tuned into these types of studies in order to best provide care for our residents. They may have “recovered” from COVID-19, but may also be experiencing long-term, negative impacts on their overall health. Be alert, and be sure your residents are assessed and their primary care provider is involved with the process.
Stay well, mask up, and stay tuned!