A recent white paper by the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) reinforces that rehabilitation should be heavily integrated into national COVID-19 emergency health planning. The white paper states rehabilitation should occur at the earliest opportunity and through engagement with rehabilitation experts and/or professional associations and national rehabilitation institutions.

The report also recognizes the importance of rehabilitation professionals as front line health workers who should be engaged in the care of patients who experience severe cases of COVID-19. As patients who develop a severe case of COVID-19 experience multiple phases of care, rehabilitation should be included in all care phases –as part of the acute phase delivered in the intensive and critical care units; during the subacute phase delivered in a hospital ward or stepdown facility; and during the long-term phase such as when patients return home and are still recovering. Specifically, the paper notes that: 

Rehabilitation professionals provide essential care for some non-COVID-19 patient groups. Evidence highlights that there may be risks to some individuals, and reduced health outcomes when rehabilitation is withdrawn or unavailable for some patient groups. Therefore, rehabilitation services for these patient groups should be considered essential services and should continue to be provided throughout the outbreak period. 

The report also draws attention to rehabilitation service planning, and the need for planners to consider people affected by COVID-19 and priority non-COVID-19 patient groups. The evidence for rehabilitation in the COVID-19 context continues to emerge, including guidance being developed by international and national professional associations of physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy and physiatry for both clinical management of COVID-19 patients and for non-COVID related service delivery options.

Throughout COVID-19, Kindred Hospital Rehabilitation Services (KHRS) has optimized facility operations and patient care, helping to ensure both staff and patient needs are met in order to achieve positive outcomes. Further, KHRS has been recognized for its infection prevention efforts and robust PPE supply chain, creating a safer environment for patients recovering from COVID-19 and other medically complex conditions.

Read our white paper, “The Critical Role of Rehab in COVID-19 Recovery,” to learn more about the importance of rehabilitation for recovering COVID patients, and how a dedicated rehab expert can benefit your facility throughout COVID-19 and beyond.  

By Kindred Hospital Rehabilitation Services