The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is developing the COVID-19 guideline: management of the long-term effects of COVID-19 and has published the final scoping document and associated project papers. The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) has produced a summary and included some top tips to aid the care of your patients whilst waiting for the national guidance to be produced.
Top tips for caring for patients whilst waiting for the NICE/SIGN/RCGP guidance:
1. Post COVID-19 syndrome is a real condition. Believe your patient, listen, show empathy and acknowledge the diagnosis.
2. You do not need a positive SARS-CoV-2 test, or have been admitted to hospital to be diagnosed with post COVID-19 syndrome. Anyone with an acute infection of COVID-19, however mild, can go on to develop post COVID-19 syndrome.
3. Post COVID-19 syndrome is a multisystem disease. Do not dismiss ongoing COVID-19 symptoms as anxiety or due to psychological cause. A full history and appropriate examination is needed to understand the impact of COVID19 on your patient.
4. Possible investigation and treatment pathway whilst waiting for the national guidance to be produced. It is essential to exclude underlying pathology and “red flags” that require further investigation and treatment, before a diagnosis of post COVID-19 syndrome is made. Review and investigate the patient, as clinically indicated, at any stage of their illness; you do not need to wait until 12 weeks for this process to begin.
5. Other current and upcoming RCGP resources on managing the long term effects of COVID-19. RCGP will continue to update the educational information as the evidence emerges and the national guidance is produced in December 2020.