AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Severe COVID-19 patients usually utilize a ventilator in the fight against the virus. In doing so, being on a ventilator for an extended period of time makes patients weaker so once they are able to be removed from a ventilator they usually undergo several different forms of therapy before being discharged.
“That is the norm for every patient,” said Any patient that’s been intubated is most likely in need of some type of therapy,” said Physical Medicine Director Ryan Cotgreave on the journey to recovery for some of their COVID-19 patients at Northwest Texas Hospital Systems.
There are multiple different forms of therapy that these patients may need in order to make a full recovery. One type of therapy seems to more common than others during their recovery.
“Unfortunately, that’s one thing that we’re seeing with a lot of our patients is the fact that their cognitive awareness is being compromised secondary to the fact that they’ve been intubated for so long. So we’re having a lot of people coming off the vent with memory issues,” said Cotgreave.
Cotgreave goes onto say it is more so of a matter that patients have been in ICU versus having COVID-19, which is more likely as to why their cognitive issues may need attention.
Physical therapy is also a huge part of the recovery process for many patients. As Cotgreave goes onto say, they usually start small with just moving to the edge of the bed as some patients even struggle with that, to walking with assistance, then walking on their own and other physical exercises to improve their mobility and strength, as they haven’t moved their limbs for an extended period of time.
Cotgreave said as a staff they make a strong effort to try and move patients as even just a little bit during their time being intubated to make sure their joints don’t lock up.
“We’ve taken this patient here that couldn’t even tolerate sitting up and they’ll walk out of our hospital when it’s all said and done, and that says a lot of the nursing, the doctors and the therapists that are taking care of these patients,” said Cotgreave.
Along with therapy, recovering COVID-19 patients also need emotional support through it all. Through this difficult time, they may not have family able to visit them in the hospital which makes the emotional toll that much greater.
“These patients don’t have anybody with them. Their families aren’t allowed at this point to be here for their own safety and so then we’re having to step in and be that emotional support that the family normally is,” said Cotgreave.
Cotgreave is very proud of the work they’ve been able to accomplish thus far, as in the physical medicine department alone, they’ve dealt with over 100 COVID-19 patients to date. He is hopeful they will be able to continue to provide for those who need it.
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