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Long COVID Treatment: Ontario

by: Post-COVID Support Team

September 30, 2022

If you’ve contracted COVID-19 and are struggling with lingering symptoms beyond four weeks of initial infection, you might be experiencing Post-COVID, also known as Long COVID. Although there aren’t any quick fixes, there are rehabilitation services available in Ontario to support your symptom management and recovery.

Common symptoms of Long COVID include: 

  • Shortness of breath
  • Lingering cough
  • Chest pain
  • Brain fog
  • Joint pain
  • Fatigue
  • Body aches
  • Headaches
  • Anxiety and/or depression

Experiencing Post-COVID symptoms is not uncommon. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), as many as one in five of those infected with the COVID-19 virus will continue to experience symptoms for weeks, if not months, beyond initial recovery.

Research on treatment plans for COVID-19 long haulers is growing and doctors have found a multidisciplinary approach to be the most effective in treating the various Post-COVID symptoms many patients experience. This means there are a variety of treatment options available.

Long COVID therapies include:

  • Physiotherapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Psychological therapy
  • Vestibular therapy
  • Kinesiology
  • Massage therapy

If you’re experiencing symptoms and looking for support, the first step is to book an appointment with your family doctor or a rehabilitation clinic that can help. Both offer referrals to specialists who are trained in working with those suffering from Long COVID.

If you’re concerned about wait times, are located far away from the nearest physician, or are one of the 1.3 million Ontarians who lack a family doctor, you can self-refer to a nearby or online COVID-19 rehabilitation clinic. Two of the most common COVID-19 rehabilitation clinics in Ontario include:

Both clinics offer easy access to an interdisciplinary team of specialists who are trained in developing Long COVID treatment plans for a variety of patients and their symptoms. These clinics offer virtual appointments and can be accessed from anywhere.

Post-COVID treatment

Post-COVID is a complex illness. Symptoms tend to be unique to each individual and severity can range from mild to incapacitating. Because of this, treatment requires a specialized approach, ideally provided by a specialized clinic. There are no medications that will solve every symptom nor are there any doctors that can promise a fast cure, but there are modes of therapy available that can help manage your symptoms and assist your return to daily life.

There is growing evidence suggesting Post-COVID patients respond best to an interdisciplinary treatment program. With a rehabilitation clinic, you have access to a team of curated specialists that are able to provide a treatment plan for you and your specific symptoms. That being said, referrals to specialists are also available through your family physician and just as effective.

Upon first appointment, a doctor or Nurse Practitioner (NP) will discuss your medical history before referring you to a team of specialists. If attending a clinic on site, they’ll discuss your medical history, provide a physical assessment on any areas you might be experiencing symptoms and then make a referral. If attending the consultation in person, comfortable and loose clothing is recommended.

A first appointment with your family doctor will be similar. There will be a discussion of medical history followed by a possible physical examination and a referral to specialists.

University health network

If you’ve contracted COVID-19, are experiencing ongoing Post-COVID symptoms that linger beyond four weeks and are a student at a university or college in Ontario, your university health network might have resources available to assist in your recovery.

We recommend booking an appointment with a doctor or NP at your campus clinic. As a Long COVID patient, your doctor or NP will review your medical history before creating a treatment plan and referring you to a specialist or team of specialists.

Your University Health Insurance Plan (UHIP) card should cover the services of both physicians and NPs.

By university:

Alternatively, you can self-refer to a specialized clinic in your area or book a virtual appointment online. Two of the most common COVID-19 rehabilitation clinics include the RT Medical Post-COVID Recovery & Care Virtual Clinic as well as the Lifemark Post COVID-19 Rehabilitation and Recovery Program. Both offer a comprehensive team of specialists from a variety of disciplines who are up to date on the most recent research and treatment options.

Mental health

If you’ve been suffering from Post-COVID symptoms and your mental health is suffering, you’re not alone. Many Long COVID patients experience anxiety, depression, PTSD or cognitive issues a result of their symptoms. These are treatable and recovery is possible.

Long COVID patients located in Ontario who are looking to be put in contact with a registered psychologist, therapist or social worker can connect with a mental health professional of their choosing using the Ontario Association of Mental Health Professionals (OAMHP) portal.

That, or patients can be connected to a mental health specialist through a clinic such as the RT Medical Post-COVID Recovery & Care Virtual Clinic as well as the Lifemark Post COVID-19 Rehabilitation and Recovery Program.

If you’re looking to be put in contact with a mental health professional who treats cognitive issues such as brain fog or confusion, you’ll have an easier time finding a professional through a Long COVID rehabilitation clinic. Mental health professionals require extra training to treat COVID-19 induced brain fog and confusion and not all therapists on the OAMHP portal will be qualified to offer such treatment.

That being said, many therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists and social workers will be sufficiently trained in treating mood disorders and trauma. If you’re looking for treatment of mood disorders such as anxiety or depression or if you’re looking for a trauma-informed approach for assistance recovering from PTSD, you’ll be able to easily find a practitioner through either the OAMHP portal or a clinic.

Most services offered by mental health professionals are covered by private insurance, not the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP). That being said, all services provided by psychiatrists are covered by OHIP.

Lifemark Health Group

The Lifemark Post COVID-19 Rehabilitation and Recovery Program was developed in response to a growing need for Long COVID rehabilitation services. The program connects Long COVID patients across Canada with a multidisciplinary team of leading healthcare professionals who are on the cutting edge of research. These professionals come from a variety of health backgrounds, including but not limited to: physiotherapy, occupational therapy, vestibular therapy, kinesiology, athletic therapy, chiropractic medicine, massage therapy, psychology, dietetics and speech language pathology.

The Post COVID-19 Rehabilitation and Recovery Program is available online or at the following clinics in Ontario:

RT Medical Post-COVID Clinic

Similar to Lifemark, our Post-COVID Recovery & Care Virtual Clinic was created as an option for Canadians to easily access specialized treatment plans regardless of location. Our program offer virtual appointments with our team of Nurse Practitioners (NPs) who connect patients with an interdisciplinary team of highly qualified specialists who are up-to-date on the most recent forms of Long COVID treatment and research. If you’re located in a rural area, have restricted access to transportation or are looking to be treated easily from home, our Post-COVID Clinic is an excellent solution.

Once an appointment is booked, you Post-COVID Recovery Package will include a series of three calls that provide referrals to a team of specialists, requests for diagnostic work, access to prescription medication as well as a followup appointment to confirm treatment efficacy.

The Post-COVID Recovery & Care Virtual Clinic is available for booking online from anywhere. If you’re looking to be put in contact with an interdisciplinary team of specialists and begin your journey to recovery, book an appointment with one of our NPs.

Support is available. Contact us today.

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