Rehabilitation of patients post COVID-19 infection: a literature review

Agnė Matulevičiūtė1, Simona Nikolaičiukaitė1, Gerda Želvytė1

1 Medical Academy, Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, Kaunas, Lithuania

Abstract:. COVID-19 infection poses many challenges for physicians in a variety of specialties, with no exception of physical medicine and rehabilitation physicians. Pandemic management requires rapid solutions and effectiveness, so a variety of experiences in the rehabilitation of patients with COVID-19 infection is essential. Because the disease manifests itself in a variety of ways, there are no general recommendations for the rehabilitation of patients after COVID-19 infection. A treatment plan for patients should be tailored to each patient according to the severity and symptoms of their disease. The purpose of this publication is to review options, planning and techniques for rehabilitation after COVID-19 infection described in the literature to assist professionals dealing with these patients in deciding on their treatment options. Rehabilitation requires a great deal of attention in order to fully return patients to their daily activities, learning or work environment. We must recognize that the medical outcome of patients is not ended only by a “cure” marked by negative virology test and the control of pulmonary inflammation. Functional recovery and return to society are ultimate medical outcomes.
Aim: to analyze the latest publications reviewing the possibilities and methods of rehabilitation to patients post COVID-19 infection.

Methods: the search of literature sources was carried out using these databases: Cohrane, Pubmed, Uptodate, Google Scholar, ScienceDirect. Certain keywords and their combinations were used to find specific medical articles. The newest articles on the topic were evaluated and analysed. A summarized analysis of scientific articles is presented in this review.
Conclusions: there is still a lack of research and evidence on rehabilitation after COVID-19 infection. However, most people with an infection need help to return to a normal life. The infection has no specific symptoms and that is the reason why an individual plan must be developed for each patient in order to fully return the patient to normal life by avoiding disease complications and controlling comorbidities. Rehabilitation plays a very important role in the healing process because we cannot consider patients cured only by improving their research indicators, patients’ functional recovery and return to society are very important.

Keywords: rehabilitation; COVID-19; coronavirus disease 2019; pandemic, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2); therapy.