Long Covid

Long Covid is a term used to describe the effects of Covid-19 that continue for weeks or months beyond the initial illness. It is now medically recognised that the phenomenon of Long Covid can leave some, even mild sufferers with persistent, debilitating health problems.

The health watchdog NICE defines Long Covid as lasting for more than 12 weeks. Details are still emerging, but initial research indicates around one in five people who test positive for Covid-19 have symptoms for five weeks or longer. One in ten people report symptoms lasting 12 weeks or longer.

The lasting symptoms of Coronavirus can include:

  • Fatigue
  • Breathlessness
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Heart palpitations
  • Chest pains
  • Joint or muscle pain
  • Not being able to focus (‘brain fog’)

How can I support employees?

The best approach for employers would be to treat this in the same way you would any other chronic medical condition, therefore to support employees with patience and reassurance, making sure they don’t feel pressurised or rushed to get back to “normal”.

Perhaps now more than ever, it will help to bring in Occupational Health Services to assess the employee’s condition and advise on any obstacles that may be preventing the employee returning to or remaining at work. We work closely with Managed Occupational Health (MOH), who are widely regarded as one of the UK’s leading and most innovative healthcare providers. Managed Occupational Health will help ensure that there is a robust assessment of employees suffering with Long Covid and will provide a tailored rehabilitation programme. To find out more please contact Eliot Clarke at [email protected].

By engaging with staff on an individual basis, and with a better understanding of such obstacles and the impact of their symptoms on their day-to-day lives, you as their employer can better plan when and what “reasonable adjustments” need to be made.

Further available nationwide support:

  • The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) has published two guides to help employers and employees work together to get back into the workplace following Covid-19 infection and Long Covid. Click here to access the guides.
  • Long Covid clinics are being rolled out across England to help those struggling with ongoing symptoms. Speak to your GP or healthcare professional to find out if you are being referred.
  • Your Covid Recovery has been set up by the NHS to provide information and support to those who’ve had Covid-19 and are still suffering with symptoms.
  • If you’re worried about your symptoms, or if they are getting worse, contact your GP.