AIM AND OBJECTIVES: To explore challenges in everyday life for people with long-term cognitive effects of COVID-19 and whether a rehabilitation programme contributed to the remedy thereof.
BACKGROUND: Healthcare systems around the world need knowledge about acute COVID-19 treatment, long-term effects exerting an impact on peoples' everyday lives, and how to remedy these.
DESIGN: This is a qualitative study with a phenomenological approach.
METHODS: Twelve people with long-term cognitive effects of COVID-19 participated in a multidisciplinary rehabilitation programme. Individual semi-structured interviews were made. Data were analysed thematically.
RESULTS: Three themes and eight sub-themes emerged with respect to everyday life challenges and experiences of the rehabilitation programme. The themes were (1) Personal insight and knowledge, (2) Changed daily routines at home and (3) Coping with working life.
CONCLUSION: Participants experienced long-term effects of COVID-19 as cognitive challenges, fatigue and headaches, which affected their everyday lives, that is inability to overcome daily tasks at home and at work, maintaining family roles and relations with relatives. The rehabilitation programme contributed to a vocabulary and insights related to the long-term effects of COVID-19 and the experience of being a different person. The programme contributed to changes in daily routines, organising breaks in everyday life and explaining challenges to family/relatives and the way in which they affected daily routines and their role in the family. In addition, the programme supported several of the participants in finding the right workload and working hours.
RELEVANCE TO CLINICAL PRACTICE: We recommend multidisciplinary rehabilitation programmes inspired by cognitive remediation of long-term COVID-19 cognitive effects. Municipalities and organisations could collaborate in the development and completion of such programmes, possibly comprising both virtual and physical elements. This could facilitate access and reduce costs.
PATIENT OR PUBLIC CONTRIBUTION: Patients contributed to the conduct of the study by participating in the data collection via interviews.
CLINICAL TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: Data collection and processing of data are approved by the Region of Southern Denmark (journal number: 20/46585).