Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre patients suffering from the effects of Long Covid are benefiting from a pioneering treatment offered by the English National Opera.
Patients can develop Post Covid Syndrome, commonly known as Long Covid. Although most recover, some people may experience longer-term effects including a range of symptoms such as fatigue, breathlessness, a cough and anxiety. Long Covid is when symptoms last 12 weeks or more.
The Long Covid service offered by Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, is made up of different healthcare professionals including a doctor, clinical specialist occupational therapist, psychological wellbeing worker and a rehabilitation support worker.
The team works with patients to complete an assessment, setting goals and helping patients manage and recover from symptoms. Patients are referred into the service by their GPs.
Among the treatment and services offered –which includes a support group for people struggling –is access to the English National Opera’s ENO Breathe programme which is designed to use singing to improve breathing.
ENO Breathe is run in partnership with Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, and is a free six-week programme providing tools to help manage breathlessness in a friendly, calm, safe and supportive online environment.
So far, BTH has referred 11 patients to the programme, which offers an initial, one-to-one session, group online workshops, and access to digital resources.
A patient being supported by the BTH Long Covid Service, and who was referred to ENO Breathe, said the programme had been ‘invaluable.’
The patient said: “The exercises have been invaluable and I am still using some of them now when my chest feels tight. We as an ENO group continue to support each other via WhatsApp, we share research findings and tips that continue to aid our recovery and just talking to people that are going through the same has been a breath of fresh air in such an isolating disease.”
Kirk Raymond, interim deputy head of therapies at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The Long Covid Service provides a range of help and support for local patients suffering from these often serious symptoms.
“We will work to complete a holistic assessment, setting goals and helping patients manage and recover from Long Covid symptoms.
“Among the treatment we have been able to offer is a referral to the ENO Breath programme. This has been very successful nationally and it’s great to see local patients benefit. The techniques taught really make a difference to people’s recovery, and we will continue to seek out and offer innovative treatment wherever we can.”
For more information on the support offered by BTH’s Long Covid Service, click here.