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COVID-19: Survivors require physiotherapy for complete rehabilitation – Experts

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The Association of Clinical and Academic Physiotherapists of Nigeria (ACAPN) on Friday, said that survivors of the Coronavirus disease required physiotherapy to ensure post-recovery rehabilitation.

Prof. Rufus Adedoyin, President of ACAPN said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
Adedoyin said that COVID-19 patients exhibited diverse symptoms which could be respiratory, gastrointestinal, musculoskeletal and neurologic.

He said the respiratory symptoms included, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, rhinorrhoea, haemoptysis, chest pain, while gastrointestinal symptoms were diarrhoea, nausea, and vomiting.

According to him, musculoskeletal symptoms comes as muscle ache and neurologic symptoms as headache or confusion.

“Patients affected by COVID-19 who need hospitalisation often present with viral pneumonia that is often complicated by an acute respiratory failure, which may eventually evolve to acute respiratory distress syndrome.

“Consequently, physiotherapy is indicated in such patients on a case by case basis.

“Cardiopulmonary physiotherapists are involved in the management and care of patients with COVID-19 in the acute hospital setting.

“The physiotherapist plays a key role in non-invasive support management, postural changes, mobilisation and during weaning from invasive mechanical ventilator support.

“Physiotherapists are also involved in the rehabilitation period following recovery from the disease,” he said.
Adedoyin further explained that an early rehabilitation after the acute phase of respiratory distress could limit the immobility associated complications which promoted rapid functional recovery.

According to him, the management of COVID-19 patients require multi-disciplinary measures, but unfortunately, physiotherapists have not been fully drafted to be part of the frontline managers.

He also decried that the few who were already engaged, lacked the required Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to enable them work effectively.

“Across the country, physiotherapists still await referrals of COVID-19 patients or its survivors.

“Few physiotherapists that are called to offer services for patients with COVID-19 are not well equipped with the necessary protective equipment, therefore exposing them to cross infection.

“We implore the government to pay attention to the remuneration of physiotherapists and other public sector health workers that are at the frontlines against this disease.

“The government needs to review upwards, their basic salary, hazard allowance and other allowances because they work long hours,even to the detriment of their health,” Adedoyin said.

He regretted that four of their members had tested positive to the disease while one had died and 16 others in isolation,just as many more were awaiting the outcome of test conducted on them.

Adedoyin advised the public to obey measures put in place by the government and health experts aimed at containing the spread of the virus.

He also called for more testing centres across the country for easy detection of infected persons.

He also advised COVID-19 survivors to engage in physical exercise regularly to keep fit,as well as boost their immune system.


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