COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center is the first in central Ohio to operate a multidisciplinary clinic for patients who have lingering COVID-19 symptoms.
The Post-COVID Recovery Program provides comprehensive evaluation and treatment for patients who continue to experience symptoms of COVID-19 longer than four weeks after testing positive for the disease. These lingering symptoms include fatigue, muscle and body aches, shortness of breath, persistent cough, confusion, brain fog and loss of taste and smell.
The Ohio State Wexner Medical Center’s program brings together specialists in pulmonology, pulmonary rehabilitation, cardiology, neurology, rheumatology, physical and occupational therapy, sleep medicine and psychiatry to evaluate patients and develop strategies to address the long-term effects and improve their quality of life.
“The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that about 9% of people have prolonged symptoms after COVID-19 infection. These long-COVID cases aren’t just happening in people who had severe illness but also those who experienced mild or no symptoms. Some have multiple symptoms, making treatment more difficult to manage. Our clinic is tailored to provide comprehensive treatment to help patients recover better from this novel disease,” said Dr. Andrew Schamess, an internal medicine physician and an associate professor at the College of Medicine.
Patients are referred to the Post-COVID Recovery Program by Ohio State Wexner Medical Center physicians. A nurse navigator collects patients’ baseline health measures and medical history before their consultation with an internal medicine physician. A personalized care plan is determined, and patients are promptly connected with specialists who are familiar with the latest recommendations on how to treat long COVID.
“Having long COVID is frustrating for so many patients, and many don’t even know where to start for treatment. Our multidisciplinary clinic puts all the pieces together and provides the best treatment possible based on the most up-to-date research,” said Dr. Aaron Friedberg, an internal medicine physician and assistant professor.
Ohio State experts can also use this clinic to support future research about long COVID, also known as Post-Acute Sequelae of COVID-19 (PASC).
“One of the goals of the program is to better understand long COVID, and the clinic’s structure and workflows are designed to support this. Being an academic medical center, Ohio State is uniquely positioned to give patients access to ongoing COVID-19 studies. This allows us to treat patients at all stages of the disease and gain a better understanding of how COVID-19 affects the body,” said Dr. Jodi Grandominico, associate director of clinical operations for the Division of General Internal Medicine & Geriatrics.
Co-directors of the Post-COVID Recovery Program are Grandominico and Dr. Lynn Fussner, a pulmonologist and associate director of clinical operations for the Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Sleep Medicine. Five internal medicine physicians lead the clinical team: Friedberg, Schamess, Dr. Harrison Jackson, Dr. Erin McConnell and Dr. Paola Fernandez Soto.
Currently, the clinic only sees Ohio State patients by referral, but there are plans to expand to other patients in the future.
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