SARS-CoV-2 (SARS2) infection, which leads to COVID-19, is a global pandemic. Chronic lung disease (CLD), particularly chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), has emerged as a risk factor for infection and severity of COVID-19. Currently, very little is known of the long-term consequences of COVID-19 and how factors such as CLD, other comorbidities and social determinants of health (SDOH) influence the trajectory of recovery in survivors. While similar complications for COVID-19 survivors and risk factors for poor health recovery may be expected as in other causes of pneumonia and critical illness, long term outcomes of COVID- 19 have not been characterized or quantified. Patients who are hospitalized and critically ill are anticipated to have greater functional deficits, but even those with mild and moderate COVID-19 may have significant impacts on function given systemic involvement of infection; rehabilitation needs may be more likely to be under-recognized and unmet in many of these patients. Overall, functional outcomes may be worse than expected in all COVID-19 patients because of prolonged length of illness and barriers to receiving rehabilitation services, including restricted face-to-face interactions, limited capacity, and limited access for many. Because CLD is associated with increased frailty and impaired function, patients with CLD may be particularly vulnerable not only to infection but also sequalae of COVID-19. Given the current physical distancing environment, we urgently need a new paradigm for rehabilitation of patients recovering from COVID-19 that can inform and apply to other causes of pneumonia as well. In this proposal we will determine patient rehabilitation needs across the spectrum of severity of COVID-19, assessing if needs differ by CLD, comorbidity burden, SDOH or other patient risk factors. We will also assess the feasibility and acceptability of a novel, virtually-delivered, home-based personalized telerehabilitation program for survivors of COVID-19 that contains a COVID Reactivation and Engagement (CORE) intervention with exercise and dyspnea management and additional personalized modules based on patient needs. We will recruit patients treated for COVID-19 as outpatients or discharged directly home for this program. We have a multidisciplinary team with expertise in rehabilitation medicine, psychology, pulmonary, critical care, nursing, complementary and integrative health, quantitative and qualitative observational research and clinical trials, and will accomplish three separate aims: 1) Determine patient factors associated with severity and complications of COVID-19 utilizing VA EHR data; 2) Determine self-reported functional outcomes and trajectory of recovery after COVID- 19 in a prospective study using mixed methods; and 3) Examine the feasibility and acceptability of a virtually- delivered, home-based rehabilitation intervention for survivors of COVID-19, with components based on an individual patient?s needs. Results will characterize the recovery from COVID-19 and identify rehabilitation and care needs across domains of services that can be offered within VA. Our pilot study will inform larger trials to test the efficacy of this newly-developed program to improve functioning, reduce secondary symptoms, and improve quality of life among individuals recovering from COVID-19.

Public Health Relevance

Coronavirus-19 disease (COVID-19) is a global pandemic, and Veterans are at risk of infection and poor outcomes from COVID-19. However, long-term outcomes of COVID-19 have not been characterized or quantified. We will determine outcomes of patients after COVID-19, including their trajectory of health recovery and rehabilitation needs. We will evaluate risk factors for worse long-term outcomes from COVID-19 such as chronic lung disease and other chronic conditions in order to identify individuals at greatest risk of doing poorly and in need of rehabilitation services. We will assess the feasibility and acceptability of a virtually-delivered, home-based personalized telerehabilitation program for survivors of COVID-19. Our pilot study will inform future larger trials of this novel program to determine if it can improve function and well-being of individuals after COVID-19.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Veterans Affairs (VA)
Non-HHS Research Projects (I01)
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VA Puget Sound Healthcare System
United States
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