KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA – Media OutReach – 16 September 2021 – “Twenty percent of patients recovering from COVID-19 will now require facility-based rehab”, according to a study released by the Journal of Rehabilitation of Medicine. With COVID-19 continuing to affect normal daily lives, those previously infected can experience symptoms of “Long COVID” referring to long-term symptoms of COVID-19 lingering for more than 12 weeks after initial infection. Patients may experience cognitive dysfunction as well as muscle loss. Alongside the oft-cited “Brain Fog”, fatigability and shortness of breath are a common complaint.
Specialized medical rehabilitation provides a solution. Currently, such services are being redirected towards patients experiencing Long COVID symptoms. Studies are now emerging that rehabilitative efforts successfully promote post-COVID-19 recovery. As Dr Fazah Akhtar Hanapiah, President of Daehan Rehabilitation Hospital, observes, “It is predicted and becoming evident that Long COVID will be of public health concern. If you do have Long COVID symptoms, regardless of the chronicity, rehabilitation may help.”
With experienced rehabilitation physicians and 24/7 medical cover, Daehan Rehabilitation Hospital Putrajaya (“Daehan”) is a unique, specialized hospital capable of addressing the complex multisystem impairment often observed in post-COVID-19 survivors. Activities that revolve around goal-oriented functional outcomes are being offered to improve both physical and mental well-being of post-COVID-19 survivors.
Daehan fields a complete, multidisciplinary team to address the complex characteristics of Long COVID. Combining the “Bio-psycho-social-physical-technological” approach with well-established South Korean rehabilitation practices, the South Korean trained therapists at Daehan are well equipped with the skills needed to ameliorate the detrimental effects of the viral infection.
With varying post-COVID-19 symptoms, it is not uncommon that patients coming out of acute care will not have left their beds in their many weeks of hospitalization. Simple activities of daily living such as eating, talking and breathing could become laborious. Daehan employs multiple modes of therapy to help them regain the lost strength, including:
– Physical Therapy to conduct cardiopulmonary and musculoskeletal rehabilitation. The therapy may start at the bedside, with stretching, strengthening and breathing exercises. Gradually, the patients will be challenged towards higher intensity activities.
– Occupational Therapy to reclaim activities of daily living (ADL). These activities encompass day-to-day motions used for dressing, grooming, using the washroom and basic motor functions. They also include neurostimulation activities and relaxation therapy to address cognitive symptoms such as “Brain Fog”, anxiety and depression. For those who were working, return-to-work will be incorporated in the rehabilitation program as well.
– Speech & Language Therapy to assist swallowing, speech and vocalisation, often provided in conjunction with physical therapies. Re-learning how to control and strengthen breathing influences voice quality.
Some acute patients, discharged from prolonged ICU care, rely on tube feeding. Daehan’s Dysphagia (swallowing) program, via clinical evaluations and instrumental investigations, allows many of them to do without tube feeding altogether. “Being able to eat again and taste food is a crucial part of recovery and quality of life.” Dr Fazah notes.
To assist the patients’ holistic recovery, Daehan also offers dietary advice and nursing care as well as an environment conducive to healing, including a garden therapy area, resort-style family lounge and individualized concept rooms.
Long COVID can affect anyone after a COVID-19 infection. Even those displaying only mild symptoms can suffer from long-term side effects. According to a study from the Ministry of Health in Malaysia, approximately 15% of COVID-19 patients suffer from severe forms of infection (Category 4 and Category 5). Among those, 66% of them further suffer from Long COVID symptoms. Daehan acts as a solution to those seeking a holistic rehabilitation and comprehensive recovery from COVID-19 impairments.
ABOUT DAEHAN REHABILITATION HOSPITAL PUTRAJAYA
Opened in 2019, Daehan Rehabilitation Hospital Putrajaya is a stand-alone hospital located in Malaysia at the IOI City Resort and is an internationally accessible premier tertiary care hospital. Daehan offers comprehensive South Korean-style integrated rehabilitation services specializing in the management of complex rehabilitation.
ABOUT DR FAZAH AKHTAR HANAPIAH
Dr. Fazah is a Consultant Rehabilitation Physician. Her experience includes 14 years of service with the Ministry of Health Malaysia and 9 years with the Ministry of Education Malaysia. She holds an Associate Professor title with UiTM, where she founded and built the Rehabilitation Medicine Department at the Faculty of Medicine and held the Deputy Dean post. She is currently the Vice President of the Malaysian Association of Rehabilitation Physicians and President of Daehan Rehabilitation Hospital Putrajaya.