Stay active to help you and the NHS beat Covid

Covid lead physiotherapist Katy Docherty and Christine Calder helping patients get back on their feet after the virus and lockdown inactivity.

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Health woes from staying indoors and being inactive during the Covid outbreak are starting to show up in patients seeking help at Oban’s Lorn and The Islands Hospital.

Medical consultant Colin Millar calls it ‘post-shielding deconditioning’ and says these are people who never had coronavirus but have lost stamina because of being in lockdown.

It has prompted advice that people can help themselves and the NHS by staying as active as possible even if shielding or isolating.

Physiotherapist Katy Docherty who is is leading on Covid rehabilitation work at the hospital said: ‘Our bodies are designed to move. Sedentary lifestyles are a risk factor for many chronic health conditions, falls and poor mental health. It’s amazing how quickly your body will deteriorate if you are not active.’

Physiotherapists, occupational therapists, consultants and GPs as well as voluntary groups are working together across the district to help get patients back to better health and their new normal – whether they have been hospitalised with the virus or not.

For patients who are recovering from coronavirus, it is not a straight-forward process said physiotherapist Katy, who spoke to Britt Doughty-Godchaux for The Oban Times.

‘Many people are impatient to get back to normal, but if you are recovering from Covid-19, even if you have not required hospitalisation, be patient with your body. The recuperation and rehabilitation phase is highly important,’ she said.

Symptoms, such as shortness of breath, can continue long after an acute episode has ended.

Katy added: ‘Gradual phased increase in activity is key. We are working hard with people to recover full fitness where possible. It is still not clear how much or how quickly fitness levels will return without support. For the few patients who have required a longer stay in hospital the reduced levels of fitness are more marked and can persist for longer.’

However, for the general population the advice is to keep active and Covid-19 will pass ‘in the fullness of time’, she said, adding for reassurrance: ‘The majority of people who contract Covid-19 do not need hospitalisation, the majority who are hospitalised are not ventilated and the majority who are ventilated recover. Before, during and after any Covid treatment or care, staying active is key.’

Patients’ own goals and investment in their recovery is vital for success and examples of help available in the community are Lorn and Oban Healthy Options (LOHO) and Martyn’s Monday Club now running Zoom meetings.

GPs are also offering short- and long-term support. Dr Beth Hadden of Connel Surgery said GPs are there to help people get over the virus as well as others touched by ‘its far-reaching effects.’

‘We will do all we can to assist people to recover from Covid as well as those in our community who are affected by its far-reaching effects, both physically and emotionally. We understand and feel the impact this is having on so many people. GP surgeries remain open, and the message remains – if you need us, please phone us,’ she said.

Argyll has been clear of recorded Covid deaths for five weeks now, according to latest figures.

The last time coronavirus was mentioned on death certificates in the Argyll and Bute Council area was in the week starting May 25, when there was one care home and two hospital deaths.

Most recent numbers published by National Records of Scotland (NRS) shows as of July 5,  4,173  deaths have been registered in Scotland in all where coronavirus (COVID-19) was mentioned on the death certificate.

Figures out on July 8 from NRS also showed across the whole of Scotland there had been an increase of 17 deaths from the previous week.

From June 29 to to July 5, 40 fewer deaths from all causes were registered compared with the average number for this time of year. This is the second week in a row the total number of deaths registered has been lower than the average.