Caring for patients with post–COVID-19 conditions

Identifying patients at risk of post–COVID-19 conditions

Identifying patients at risk of post–COVID-19 conditions

Studies have identified that patients are at higher risk of post–COVID-19 conditions if they:

  • have experienced severe illness during their acute COVID-19 illness, including requiring intensive care
  • have pre-existing comorbidities (eg respiratory disease, obesity, diabetes, hypertension, chronic cardiovascular disease, chronic kidney disease, post-organ transplantation, active cancer)
  • are of older age
  • are female.4,5,11

Patients might have already been under your care during their acute illness while isolating at home or might be discharged from another GP or hospital/health service-led COVID-19 service that managed their acute illness. Some patients may not have required, or sought, GP assistance during their acute illness and only present for management of post–COVID-19 conditions.

If the patient was under your care during the acute illness, continue monitoring the patient, even after their release from isolation, based on their symptoms and their risk factors for post–COVID-19 conditions.

Early review after acute illness is recommended when requested in the discharge summary, when a person is determined to be at higher risk of post–COVID-19 conditions or when the patient is still experiencing non-specific post-viral symptoms. These consultations provide an opportunity to assess for any reoccurring or ongoing symptoms, the need for additional supports, and to update management of pre-existing conditions or screening that might have been impacted by their illness. They also allow for early referral to allied heath for symptom management, if required.

Patient assessment should include:

  • history of acute COVID-19 (suspected or confirmed)
  • nature and severity of previous and current symptoms
  • timing and duration of symptoms since the start of acute COVID-19
  • history of other health conditions
  • exacerbation of pre-existing conditions
  • mental health and wellbeing
  • available supports.4

These consultations should be billed as standard attendance items (telehealth or in person). 

 

This event attracts CPD points and can be self recorded

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