PORTLAND, Ore. — Oregon Health & Science University has launched a new program designed to treat coronavirus "long-haulers," people who have continued to experience symptoms for months after overcoming the virus.
OHSU said that the Long COVID-19 Program is now underway, with some patients coming in for their first appointments last week.
According to the university, some 10 to 30 percent of coronavirus patients continue to experience problems for more than a month — including fatigue, trouble breathing, heart palpitations, and other symptoms.
“Our patient-centered Long COVID-19 Program offers a compassionate medical home base for patients who have had a myriad of debilitating symptoms for months,” said the program’s lead physician, Dr. Eric Herman.
The program aims to coordinate care by OHSU adult and pediatric providers with a variety of specialties. While the program serves both adults and children, long COVID-19 has so far been more commonly observed in adults.
Each patient's unique needs are assessed through an initial intake appointment, followed by the developlment of a long-term care plan in cooperation with the patient's primary care provider. Patients may also be referred to specialists for specific symptoms and lingering conditions.
Though the Long COVID-19 Program will initially serve existing OHSU patients, it's supposed to begin expanding by late spring. Eventually, it is expected to serve any long-term coronavirus patient in Oregon.
"This approach to long COVID-19 care was developed by a team of OHSU providers over the past several months," the university said in a statement. "The program was shaped by input from local patients as well lessons learned at other hospitals across the country that have established similar efforts."
Providers involved in the program primarily specialize in pulmonology, cardiology, neurology, primary care and physical rehabilitation. Providers meet monthly to discuss program operations and touch base frequently on individual patient cases as needed, OHSU said.