Without a doubt, we can state that the world panicked when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Up till then, the majority of us were taking our pulmonary health for granted. In the current times, attitudes have changed to ensure that the pandemic doesn’t happen again.
Doctors on their part have made sure to help the recovery of all the pandemic-affected patients. However, since it was the first time that the evolving viral infection had infected the masses, some new practices started without proper research.
What’s the Patient Release Protocol after COVID-19?
Patients were given very specific orders to follow after release from the hospital. They were ordered to do the following things for up to 14 days after the infection’s symptoms have disappeared.
- Keep on wearing a mask until proper isolation has been attained. This isolation should continue until they feel symptomatic.
- Always keep a check on blood oxygen levels. It is wise to invest in a pulse oximeter for personal use.
- If the symptoms worsen, make sure to reach the hospital to get prompt treatment. Symptoms can be related to the pulmonary system, digestive system, or nervous system.
- Keep a tally of COVID-like symptoms.
- Use the oxygen device as per the physician’s recommendation. The physician or other healthcare personnel responsible for the discharge will provide instructions regarding where to get an oxygen concentrator. They will also inform the patient about how much supplemental oxygen is required by their body. They would make sure that the patient knows how to take precautions when using the oxygen concentrator device.
- Good hygiene would need to be maintained to ensure that there is no contamination of different surfaces at home. This will save the other people living in the house.
Who Gets Long-Term Oxygen Therapy Prescribed?
As per the numerous studies on this topic, patients with post-COVID syndrome have mostly been prescribed the use of an oxygen tank or an oxygen concentrator.
Another group that was getting the prescription for long-term oxygen therapy for their pulmonary health was a patient group that had lower oxygen saturation levels from the very beginning. These particular patients didn’t recover even after their struggle through the care units at the hospital. Hence these patients got prescriptions for oxygen therapy once they were leaving the hospital.
Another group that was prescribed oxygen concentrators and oxygen tank use was the old age group. These patients had co-morbid. The old age and obesity factor was pretty common in people who got a post-COVID syndrome, thus needing an oxygen concentrator for pulmonary care.
What is Post-COVID Syndrome?
The World Health Organization has helped professionals in hammering out the definitive form of the post-COVID syndrome. Many healthcare professionals, researchers, and patients helped in this endeavor.
To summarize, we have created a list of conditions that are met in Post-COVID Syndrome.
- The symptoms harm the daily life of the patient.
- The patient has suffered from SARS CovV-2 infection, definitely a strong chance that it happened.
- This new incidence of symptoms is within 3 months of the infection.
- The symptoms cannot be explained by any other condition in the patient.
- The symptoms persist in the patient for up to 2 months.
- Symptoms were either already a part of the patient’s experience with the SARS-CoV 2 infection or they are new COVID-like symptoms that have just developed.
- Symptoms generally comprise breathlessness, exhaustion, and difficulty in cognition.
Over time, the definition of Post-COVID Syndrome is bound to change. For current information, always stay on the lookout.
Evidence-Based Suggestion About Prescribing Oxygen Concentrators
It is a widely held belief in the medical community that they simply didn’t know how to specifically treat COVID-19 patients. The treatments practiced in the early period were all inspired by the treatment of viral infection and sepsis.
The discharge instructions were also coincidentally not something that was established via the result. Now that two years have passed since the start of the pandemic, a proper study has been done to establish best practices.
The following conditions were the marker for the need for Long term oxygen therapy in the post-COVID era.
- Stay in the intensive care unit of the hospital.
- High d-dimer levels during the infection.
- Symptoms of Acute respiratory distress syndrome.
- Depressed oxygen levels during a hospital stay.
- Aged 50 years and above.
The study also indicates that it is better to evaluate patients at different appointments after release from the hospital. The main cause for this suggestion is that pulmonary health can recover and the patient may not need further use of supplemental oxygen therapy. Alternatively, the patient may recover through proper rehabilitation program efforts. It is up to the physician’s evaluation.
If the patient does require supplemental oxygen for a brief period, the study suggests that it is best to prescribe an Oxygen cylinder. While the patient might end up needing a few refills, the cost will not be a lot. On the other hand, a patient whose pulmonary health condition doesn’t show signs of getting better can be given an oxygen concentrator device by prescription. It is up to the healthcare personnel to look out for the interest of the patients.