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Michelle Rigby and Josh Elton

Betswi Cadwaladr University Health Board and Mental Health Foundation

Watch Michelle and Josh talk about their project.

It is reported that 2 million people in the UK may be living with long COVID symptoms, and requiring support for that. The knowledge and understanding of the mechanics of post COVID syndrome and the effective treatments are increasing as time and research goes on, but the impact on the psychology of the individual remains the same.

The rationale for the project was to provide a general structured self-management education programme and follow up peer support to individuals who are still experiencing symptoms 12 weeks post infection. Providing this education at this point encourages self-management of symptoms, supporting individuals to navigate and access services in the most appropriate manner. The subsequent access to the ongoing peer support (Via the Mental Health Foundation (MHF)) will enable community capacity to be developed; emotional support from their peers and a forum to utilise their self-management skills going forward.

Project Aims/Objectives:

  • Integration of the lay led structured education into the Long Covid Service in BCU as it emerges.
  • Embed peer support into our communities, supported by robust information (validated by the HCP).
  • Activate the individuals who take part in structured education to be empowered and enabled. Skilled to actively engaging as partners in their care and treatment.

Project Outcomes:

  • Activated Patients working as partners in their own care and taking responsibility for the day to day management of their condition.
  • A long COVID Self management programme has been developed and is routinely available across the BCU area, available to staff and patients.
  • The Self Management Education is now routinely referred to from Primary Care at three months of symptoms.
  • Ongoing Peer Support is available in BCU for groups of patients experiencing Long COVID and Chronic Pain.

“We are all in the same storm. We’re not in the same boat, but we are in the same storm”

Project Impact:

This Bevan Project has included 8 Co-horts – with 147 Registered to attend the EPP Long COVID Self-management programme (LCSMP), 76 completing the LCSMP, 36 individuals continuing to attend a session with Mental Health Foundation (MHF).

Key Conclusions:

Key Insights from EPP qualitative data.

  1. The majority of sub-themes relate to a positive experience of the course on long COVID itself.
  2. Even sub-themes relating to negative emotions or aspects of care such as ‘Feeling Safe’ and ‘Pain’ are reported in a positive manner and can be interpreted in terms of the an increase in efficacy as a result of the programme.

The key insights from the quantitative feedback

The initial findings show that the EPP Cymru Long Covid Self-management Programme shows improvement in EQ5D, and in the Universal Loneliness Score when comparing Pre-course (n=105) to post course (n= 77) and three-month post course (n= 25) data.

This perceived health score demonstrates that an individual’s perception of their health improves by attendance at the LCSMP and is supported for continued improvement by accessing peer support.

View the project poster and slides from the Cohort 7 Exemplar Showcase