Piloting a new pathway to support people living with Long Covid

This week’s blog is written by @StrongZoestrong and colleagues from @pogo_health. Their website can be accessed by clicking here.

“I got great help, especially learning the breathing exercises and how to use my lungs properly. I’d recommend the service to anyone. In fact, my neighbour had COVID, and I told her all about it, about the breathing and how to plan your day”. – Catherine, 67

You only have to watch the recent BBC Panorama Forgotten heroes of the covid front line to discover that Long Covid hasn’t just gone away. It is in fact very much still present in our communities and even more so if, like us, you work in the health or social care sectors.

In Scotland in 2022, our GPs were struggling with ideas on how to better support Long Covid patients and were overwhelmed with appointments. The only referrals that they could make involved significant waiting times. At the same time, charities such as Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland (CHSS), who had the resource and skills to help were not getting referrals through from primary care.

Pogo Digital Healthcare, NHS Lothian and Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland in partnership, created an integrated digital care pathway, enabling patients to receive tailored support straight away, using a mobile application MyTailoredTalks to connect services across sectors.

MyTailoredTalks features a self-assessment questionnaire, which upon completion generates tailored information to support each individual patient. The content may include information about common symptoms including fatigue, breathlessness, and difficulty concentrating, as well as advice catering to issues such as getting back to work and coping financially.

The platform also offers a symptom tracker and includes an area where patients can request a call-back from the Long Covid Advice Line provided by Chest Heart & Stroke specialist nurses.

This short film explains how the pathway works MyTailoredTalks for Long Covid

Over 26 GP practices and 200 patients have now used the pathway, and feedback so far has been positive. Whilst this pathway has not been designed to tackle complex cases of Long Covid, it has been shown to support people struggling with some of the most common symptoms. The hope is that over time, pathways such as ours will provide enough support to less complex cases, freeing up capacity in the system to better support those requiring more specialist interventions.

To find out more about our pilot please read our recently published White Paper Supporting Recovery from Long COVID: A digital care pathway

This short film explains how the pathway has supported one patient.

The quotes below are from other people who have used the pathway.

“It felt very supportive to speak to someone from CHSS and know that someone understood and was sympathetic to what I was going through. Having this service is a must for people in my situation. We all need that support.” – Chloe, 26

“I felt very lucky to be accepted on to the pilot programme, and I feel it had made a difference to me. The guy I spoke to at CHSS reassured me I was doing the right thing in managing my symptoms and gave me good advice about putting things into practice, which isn’t always easy to do.” – Mark, 52

We warmly welcome questions and/or feedback around our products and projects. We also have a mailing list if you would like to be kept up to date with our latest developments. Please get in touch at info@pogodigitalhealth.com or follow us on Twitter @pogo_health or LinkedIn. Our website can be accessed by clicking here.

Author: Alison Twycross PhD RN

Chair - Supporting Healthcare Heroes UK; Editor-in-Chief - Evidence Based Nursing; Former Deputy Dean and Professor of Children’s Nursing

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