Patients who survive a severe bout with the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) after being hospitalized are not necessarily fully recovered pr home-free upon discharge, new research warned.
After tracking outcomes among 1,250 Covid-19 patients for two months after being released from the hospital, investigators found that nearly 7 percent ultimately died in the weeks following their release, while 15 percent 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.
“Covid is not a ‘one-and-done’ disease,” said study author Dr. Vineet Chopra, chief of the division of hospital medicine with Michigan Medicine at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. “Rather, there are many complications and consequences that patients continued to struggle with,” he said.
“Our findings suggest that we need to approach post-hospitalization Covid care differently,” Chopra said. “Yes, there are medical needs. But there are also more pressing needs in terms of mental well-being, financial and emotional stress, being able to regain independence, [and] return to work. We need policy and programmatic approaches to help with these issues.”
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. Investigators focused on the remaining 75 percent who were discharged at some point between March and July 2020.
CONCERN FOR SENIOR CITIZENS
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 percent had spent part of their time in the intensive care unit, 6 percent had been on a ventilator, and 70 percent 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 percent 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 percent saying they had used up all or most of their savings.
“In general, we know very little about what happens to patients following discharge from the hospital,” Chopra acknowledged.
“I think we were also surprised to hear of how much of a struggle life after Covid has been for many of the survivors,” he noted. And while acknowledging that some of that struggle might be shared with survivors of other serious illnesses, Chopra stressed the unique challenges Covid-19 survivors face. SOVEREIGNPH WITH UPI/HEALTHDAY NEWS