The pilot of an NHS long-covid programme, where eight patients from hospital and the community who have persistent symptoms beyond 12 weeks participated, has shown great success at Marjon.
The group helps long covid sufferers build strength and increase confidence. With activities such as supported exercise, talks from guest speakers, and socialising with other patients, to physically improve symptoms. Marjon offers high standard facilities, including strength and conditioning labs, a sports hall, and teaching rooms allowing a less formal approach.
The scheme had a large student involvement, with students from our Sports Therapy, Sports Rehabilitation and Conditioning, and Health and Wellbeing Practitioner degrees instructing and supervising exercise. This allowed students to gain relevant experience in their field, whilst giving back to the wider community. Through the 12 weeks, patients and students developed strong bonds, with both sides ensuring competence and learning new skills.
In their first session, participants carried out assessments to provide a benchmark for their progress. By reflecting on the results in weeks 6 and 12, the patients could see measurable improvements in their overall health. Patients gained access to services they didn’t know about beforehand. Most patients joined MarjonSport and Health Centre, to continue with what they have learned.
Health and Wellbeing Rehabilitator, Mike Prynn, says "The programme was a huge success, not only did the patients make brilliant improvements, but they also found made friends with people who have had shared experiences. They provide a support network for each other, beyond the programme, helping to continue to improve their health and wellbeing."
BSc Sports Therapy student, Zac Killen, says “The long covid programme was a great placement opportunity, working alongside a multi-disciplinary healthcare team. I had Covid in 2020 and experienced chest and muscle pains for six weeks afterwards, I have been struggling with cognitive and sinus issues ever since. My participation in this programme has altered my viewpoint on how I live with the aftereffects of Covid and how I can cope with them.
“The training has assisted patients in coming to terms with the challenges they are dealing with. I believe the success of this pilot project stems from the way it has blended multidisciplinary teams and exercise to achieve the greatest results for the participants. The programme provides a place of safety and a judgement-free zone for people to discuss their concerns about the long-term effects of living with Covid.”
The last session of the pilot was aptly named the ‘graduation’. Both patients and students celebrated the progress they had made throughout their experience.