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With the year anniversaries of the first UK and Ireland national lockdowns around the corner, there’s still plenty that we are learning about COVID-19 and its impact.
One outcome of the illness that has become a growing concern is the reported ‘long COVID’, also known as ‘post-COVID-19 syndrome’.
An unofficial medical term, long COVID refers to patients suffering symptoms of the COVID-19 virus for longer than the official WHO-recommended two-week period.
In December 2020, data released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that one in 10 people infected with coronavirus experience symptoms that lasted for three months or longer.
The recovery process for those who are diagnosed with COVID-19 can differ from person to person. According to the NHS, while most people will make a full recovery within 12 weeks, for others, their symptoms can last much longer.
Here, we have listed some of the reported long-lasting symptoms of long COVID that could potentially affect your colleague’s lives:
Difficulty sleeping - while tackling the long-term health effects of COVID-19, patients may struggle to return to a normal sleeping pattern and suffer from insomnia. This can result in increased extreme tiredness, also known as fatigue.
Extreme tiredness – fatigue often results in a lack of energy for concentration, problem-solving, communication and decision making.
Breathlessness - shortness of breath can be a disconcerting symptom for many. This will likely affect the productivity, mood and general wellbeing of the affected person.
Low mood and depression - the long-standing effects of COVID will likely affect a person's mental health and wellbeing. The lack of control over their body’s response, isolation from others and potential hospital visits can all cause high levels of anxiety and potentially, depression.
From introducing remote working to enforced closures, the coronavirus pandemic has sprung an array of unprecedented challenges on organisations over the past 12 months. And as our understanding of the virus develops, the ways in which organisations manage their people will also have to adapt.
If a member of your team is returning to work after being side-lined due to COVID, booking in some time to conduct regular and informal check-ins is advisable. In these catch-ups, discuss how they feel about their return to work and explore any possible reasonable adjustments you can accommodate.
This could include flexible hours, reduced workloads or even a temporary part-time work schedule. This would help accommodate medical appointments or to simply ease them back into their routine following their emotionally and physically exhausting experience.
It’s important to note that recovery from an illness such as COVID-19 can take time. Each case is different, and your wellbeing strategies should reflect this. Treat each case individually, to ensure the safest and smoothest return for each individual affected.
In return, you’ll be rewarded with a happy and healthy workforce, who feel that their health and wellbeing is a top priority to their employers.
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