For many people, physical and mental ills can linger months after COVID recovery

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In a new study, researchers found that patients who survive severe COVID-19 after being hospitalized are not necessarily home-free upon discharge

They tracked outcomes among 1,250 COVID-19 patients for two months after being released from the hospital.

They found that nearly 7% ultimately died in the weeks following their release, while 15% ended up being readmitted to the hospital.

Many others said they continued to struggle with symptoms and were unable to resume their usual lifestyle or return to work.

The findings suggest that COVID is not a ‘one-and-done’ disease. Rather, there are many complications and consequences that patients continued to struggle with.

The research was conducted by a team at the University of Michigan.

In the study, the team found among an initial pool of about 1,650 seriously ill COVID-19 patients, nearly one-quarter died while undergoing treatment in 38 hospitals across the United States.

They focused on the remaining 75% who were discharged at some point between March and July 2020.

On average, released patients were 62 years of age. A little more than half were Black and just over one-third were white.

While hospitalized, about 13% had spent part of their time in the intensive care unit (ICU), 6% had been on a ventilator and 70% had been treated with supplemental oxygen.

Nearly 500 patients participated in a follow-up phone survey 60 days out.

By that point, nearly one-third said they experienced persistent symptoms; nearly one in five said they experienced new or worse symptoms after release, and about 40% were unable to resume their normal routines.

Only about one-quarter said they had been able to return to work, according to the report.

Roughly half said their poor health had a mild or moderate effect on their emotional state of mind.

And about half said COVID-19 had taken a mild or moderate hit on their finances, with about 10% saying they had used up all or most of their savings.

These findings suggest that we need to approach post-hospitalization COVID care differently.

There are medical needs. But there is also more pressing needs in terms of mental well-being, financial and emotional stress, being able to regain independence and return to work.

People need policy and programmatic approaches to help with these issues.

One author of the study is Dr. Vineet Chopra, chief of the division of hospital medicine with Michigan Medicine.

The study is published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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