The National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) recently posted (23/11/23) a summary of a new study on long COVID, involving 3,700 people, which found that the condition severely impacts quality of life, with 1 in 5 unable to work. Fatigue was the dominant symptom and most closely associated with poor everyday functioning across work, home life and relationships. This highlights the need for services to prioritize fatigue management.
94% of participants were of working age. Over half said their everyday functioning was severely affected. 51% had been unable to work in the past month, with 20% unable to work at all. 96% reported reduced quality of life due to pain, anxiety or depression.
The study had limitations in representing all long COVID patients. However, it underscores how debilitating the condition can be, especially due to fatigue. The authors recommend post-COVID clinics focus more on assessing and managing fatigue to aid recovery.
Further research into supporting people with long COVID is called for. Interventions targeting severe fatigue could greatly help many patients. The authors are examining in more detail the duration of fatigue symptoms and their impact over the course of the disease.