If you’re located in Toronto and experiencing lingering symptoms of COVID-19 beyond four weeks of initial infection, you might be experiencing Post-COVID, otherwise known as Long COVID. Although there are no immediate solutions available, there are an abundance of Long COVID rehabilitation clinics and specialists in Toronto who can help manage symptoms and begin your road to recovery.
Unfortunately, experiencing Post-COVID is relatively common. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), as many as 20% of those infected with COVID-19 will continue to experience symptoms for weeks, if not months, beyond initial recovery. These symptoms can range from mild to severe and can seriously impact the daily lives of patients if not treated correctly.
Common symptoms of Post-COVID include:
- Shortness of breath
- Lingering cough
- Chest pain
- Brain fog
- Joint pain
- Body aches
- Anxiety and/or depression
- Sleep problems
Research on treatment plans for Long COVID patients 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:
- Occupational therapy
- Psychological therapy
- Vestibular therapy
- Massage therapy
If you’re struggling with Post-COVID symptoms and are looking for a solution, you’re in the right place. Toronto has an abundance of interdisciplinary rehabilitation services available, including many that take self-referral.
Some of the most common Long COVID rehabilitation clinics in Toronto include:
- RT Medical Post-COVID Recovery & Care Virtual Clinic
- Lifemark Post COVID-19 Rehabilitation and Recovery Program
- The Salvation Army Toronto Grace Health Centre – Pulmonary Rehabilitation Clinic
- Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre – St. John’s Rehab Program
- University Health Network – Toronto Rehabilitation Institute
- West Park Healthcare Centre – Post-COVID Outpatient Service
All clinics offer easy access to a team of specialists who are trained in developing Long COVID treatment plans for a variety of patients and their symptoms.
Although Long COVID is not yet fully understood, the impact is consistent. Chronic illness, regardless of the form, can have an impact on your psychosocial health, capacity to work, and activity level. Because the impact of Long COVID is so far reaching, it’s important to get treatment as soon as possible. Not only for your recovery, but also for the day-to-day management of symptoms.
Because Long COVID is so unique, the treatment requires a unique approach tailored to each individual. This might mean that each Long COVID patient sees a different team of specialists. If one patients suffers from confusion and another from fatigue, shortness of breath and joint pain, their treatment plans and specialists will be entirely different.
Post-COVID treatment process
There are a few different treatment paths available: a self-referral to a rehabilitation clinic, a doctor’s referral to a rehabilitation clinic, or a doctor’s referral to a specialist or team of specialists.
Although rehabilitation clinics offer an interdisciplinary team of specialists, primary care physicians are often more in tune with your unique needs and medical history and can also provide referrals to specialists. Depending on your symptoms, urgency and location, any of these options can provide a path to recovery.
Upon first appointment, a family doctor or Nurse Practitioner (NP) will discuss your medical history. If attending a clinic or doctor’s office on site, the medical practitioner will provide a physical assessment on any areas you might be experiencing symptoms. Loose, comfortable clothing is recommended.
After your first appointment, your doctor or NP will create a treatment plan unique to your Post-COVID condition and lifestyle. This treatment plan might include diagnostic work, referrals to specialists and medication when needed. If followed, treatment plans have been found to be highly effective in getting patients back to their usual activities of daily living through symptom management and recovery.
The road can be long, but the payoff is worth it. Returning to your daily life is possible.
University health network
If you’ve contracted COVID-19, are experiencing ongoing Long COVID symptoms that linger beyond four weeks and are a student at a university or college in Toronto, your university health clinic will have options available that are covered by your University Health Insurance Plan (UHIP).
The first step is booking an appointment with your campus clinic. As a Long COVID patient, your physician or NP will review your medical history and provide a physical assessment of symptoms before creating a treatment plan. Your treatment plan might include diagnostic work, referrals and potentially medication.
Your UHIP card should cover the services of both physicians and NPs.
- Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD) – Student Wellness Centre
- Toronto Metropolitan University – Medical Centre
- University of Toronto – Health and Wellness Services
- York University – Student Counselling, Health, and Wellbeing
Another popular option amongst students is to self-refer to a rehabilitation clinic in your area or book a virtual appointment online. Two of the most common Long COVID 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 interdisciplinary specialists who are up to date on the most recent research, evidence, and treatment options.
From anxiety and depression to PTSD and cognitive issues, Long COVID can have tremendous impact on mental health. If you’re suffering from lingering COVID symptoms and experiencing an altered mental state, know you’re not alone and recovery is possible.
If you’re suffering from Long COVID, located in Toronto and looking to connect with a registered mental health practitioner, you can find one using the Ontario Association of Mental Health Professionals (OAMHP) portal. That, or you can be connected to a mental health specialist through a rehabilitation clinic such as the RT Medical Post-COVID Recovery & Care Virtual Clinic, the Lifemark Post COVID-19 Rehabilitation and Recovery Program, or any of the previously mentioned rehabilitation clinics.
Those suffering from mental health issues such as COVID-19 induced brain fog or confusion might have an easier time finding a specialist 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. Additionally, other forms of therapy such as vision therapy, neuromuscular therapy and sensorimotor therapy can be equally as effective, if not more effective, in treating cases of Long COVID confusion but are not offered by mental health practitioners.
Almost all mental health practitioners are trained in treating mood disorders and many of those practitioners will also offer trauma-informed therapy. If you’re looking for treatment regarding mood symptoms such as PTSD, anxiety, or depression, you’ll be able to easily find a practitioner through either the OAMHP portal or a rehabilitation clinic.
Most services offered by mental health professionals are covered by private insurance, not the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP). If you’re lacking private insurance or are looking for an economical option, social workers and therapists (as opposed to psychologists) often offer less expensive services. 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 the growing need for Long COVID rehabilitation services across Canada. The program is self-referral and connects Long COVID patients with a multidisciplinary team of healthcare professionals 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 Toronto:
- East Toronto Orthopaedic & Sports Injury Clinic
- Lifemark Physiotherapy Bay & Bloor
- Lifemark Physiotherapy Dufferin & Castlefield
- Lifemark Physiotherapy Leslie & Sheppard
- Trilogy Physiotherapy – Bloor West
- Trilogy Physiotherapy – Downtown
RT Medical Post-COVID Clinic
Similar to Lifemark, our Post-COVID Recovery & Care Virtual Clinic was created as an accessible service for those suffering from Long COVID. Our service offers virtual appointments with our team of Nurse Practitioners (NPs) who connect patients with an interdisciplinary team of specialists educated on the most recent forms of Long COVID treatment and research. If you have restricted access to transportation or are simply looking to be treated easily from home, our clinic is an excellent option.
The Post-COVID Recovery & Care Virtual Clinic is available online, anywhere. If you’re looking for an easily accessible option to a team of curated specialists to begin your journey to recovery, book an appointment with one of our NPs today.
Your Post-COVID Recovery Package will include a series of three calls providing referrals to an interdisciplinary team of specialists, diagnostic work, access to prescription medication as well as a follow-up appointment to confirm treatment is working.
Support is available. Contact us today.