The Patient Reported Outcome Measures (PROMs) app is a vital tool to capture patient information and it is now being expanded to collate information from osteopathic patients about lasting symptoms of COVID-19. The National Council for Osteopathic Research (NCOR), who developed the original PROMs app for osteopathic practice, has included new questions for patients about COVID-19 in addition to the information that they are asked currently.
Dr. Carol Fawkes Ph.D. who developed the original osteopathic PROMs app as part of her doctorate said of this new addition:
“None of us could have predicted at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic earlier this year that our lives would still be facing disruption. We now know more about the virus and its acute and longer-term effects, and we may be seeing patients experiencing those longer-term effects within our practices.
“The addition of a question about COVID-19 to the app allows us to gain valuable data regarding the number of patients that may be experiencing long last effects of the virus”
To make this project a success, NCOR need the help of osteopaths to invite their patients who are seeking osteopathic treatment to participate in using the PROMs app. The findings from this study will be used to help inform more responsive pathways of care for patients.
For those already using PROMs, a new poster to encourage patient participation is available to download from here. [updated: May 2021]
Read below to find out more about what research is being undertaken with COVID-19 patients.
What research is being undertaken about patients with COVID-19?
A report was released in mid-October by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) about what is now being termed “Long COVID” (Maxwell, 2020). The report explores some of the perceptions that people have about COVID-19 and the effects it has. Patients are experiencing symptoms for greater periods of time and the impact of them upon quality of life and wellbeing can be significant. The path to recovery can be diverse. Current pathways tend to focus on either pulmonary or cardiac rehabilitation, with care for musculoskeletal symptoms and fatigue less widely available.
New research is being undertaken in a variety of ways e.g. by accessing databases of anonymised GP records to try to identify the wide-ranging nature of the ‘Long COVID’ symptoms and the type of management patients are receiving. Many of you may also be aware of the work being undertaken at Kings College, London using their COVID-19 symptom app (ZOE). The findings suggest there are six presenting symptom clusters. The patients in cluster 1 may be those we see in osteopathic practice.
- Flu-like with no fever;
- Flu-like with fever;
- Severe level 1, fatigue;
- Severe level 2, confusion;
- Severe level 3, abdominal and respiratory (Sudre et al., 2020).
Other UK-wide research is investigating how lifestyle factors might influence the risk of catching the COVID-19 coronavirus, the severity of symptoms, speed of recovery and any longer-term impacts. It is hoped that the findings from this research will help identify those who are at higher risk of serious illness and ensure medical treatment and public health advice is based on the best possible evidence. Further information can be found at https://www.qmul.ac.uk/covidence/.
Maxwell E. Living with Covid19: A dynamic review of the evidence around ongoing Covid19 symptoms (often called Long COVID). https://evidence.nihr.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/Living-with-Covid-Themed-Review.pdf (Accessed 14.10.2020)
Sudre CH, Murray B, Varsavsky T, et al., 2020. Symptom clusters in Covid19: A potential clinical prediction tool from the COVID Symptom study app (2020) medRxiv. The study is available in a non-peer-reviewed form prior to publication at https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.10.19.20214494v1.