What Is Long COVID? AJN Off the Charts

There are still many unknowns, but the need for comprehensive care is clear.

“There are days I don’t have any issues. Then I have terrible palpitations, or I’m short of breath when I walk. I think there’ll be long-term effects, I’m just not 100% sure what they’ll be.”

This is how one nurse with long COVID describes her symptoms—more than two years after initially contracting the virus—and the uncertainty that goes along with it. Her experience is highlighted in the July AJN Reports, “Long COVID: What We Know Now.”

Few definitive answers.

Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

Each wave of COVID infections results in more people not fully recovering from the acute illness. Instead, they experience a range of ongoing and new symptoms that vary in severity and duration.

Whether their symptoms are called long COVID, postacute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2, or post-COVID conditions, the reality is the same: there are few definitive answers about long COVID’s risk factors, causes, and effects.

Multidisciplinary care.

What is known, as the article discusses, is that it’s beneficial for patients to access a post-COVID care program in which a multidisciplinary team provides ongoing clinical evaluation, individualized treatment, and support services.

“The best thing you can do for a patient is get them involved with a collaborative group experienced in long COVID,” Shanna Chapman, DNP, APRN, FNP-C, FAANP, a family NP in Missouri and the assistant dean of faculty in the FNP Program at Chamberlain University, says in the article.

Physical and psychological symptoms.

And it’s not just the physical symptoms of long COVID that require treatment. As Chapman explains,

“People suspect, ‘Oh, I’m going to be sick for a week, and then I’ll be back to normal,’ and when that doesn’t happen, we see a lot of mental health issues. It’s extremely important that this aspect be treated along with the physical side.”

To read more about these and other aspects of long COVID management—and the red flags nurses may encounter—read “Long COVID: What We Know Now,” which is free until August 21.

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