Rambam Health Care Campus has provided comprehensive, dedicated care for more than 1,200 COVID 19 patients since receiving its first such patient in March 2020. Despite the high rate of success in treating the virus, some patients continue to suffer from ongoing health issues and require follow-up treatment, even after being released from the hospital. As the international vaccination campaign gains momentum, sources at Rambam caution: “COVID-19 will be with us for quite some time and we need to deal with its long-term consequences.”
Many patients who have recovered from COVID-19 continue to suffer from health issues, even after being released from the hospital. As the number of complaints increased, along with growing evidence of ongoing complications, it became clear that there was need to provide follow-up care for these patients. To address this issue, Rambam Health Care Campus has established a multidisciplinary clinic within the framework of its Pulmonology Institute to manage the medical services and treatments required by recovering COVID-19 patients.
“Health issues range from muscular aches and breathing difficulties that impact quality of life, to more severe cardiovascular, neurological, and other disorders, “explains Dr. Yaniv Dotan, Deputy Director of Rambam’s Pulmonology Institute. “It is important to remember that we are still learning about the virus and its consequences. However, we can already say that in several instances, many of those who had seemingly recovered from COVID-19 actually require ongoing medical care for a wide array of medical issues. Initially, we saw these patients in our general medical clinics, alongside other ill patients. However, as soon as we understood the growing need, we decided to establish a dedicated clinic specifically for their medical issues.”
The new clinic has been operating for several weeks, is open every Wednesday, and receives patients from all HMOs, even if they were not previously hospitalized at Rambam. An experienced, multi-disciplinary team of doctors and nurses, together with technicians, physiotherapists, and massage therapists, stand ready to provide care.
“The medical issues of these patients are expressed in various ways,” said Dr. Dotan. “Rambam, as the only referral center in the North, offers a full complement of medical services and can provide whatever care is needed. In this clinic, we diagnose the problem and direct the patient to the appropriate follow-up care. Soon, we anticipate that the clinic will expand its operations to include many of the services needed by our patients, all under one roof.”
Israel is vaccinating its residents at a rapid pace, and the end of the pandemic is in sight. But Dr. Dotan has an important cautionary message, “We have among us tens of thousands of people recovering from COVID-19.
Unfortunately, until we begin to see the benefits of our vaccination campaign, there will be additional people who become infected. The coronavirus will remain with us for quite some time and for some patients, there are long-term health consequences. These patients are entitled to follow up examinations and care. We can help, and we are here for you.”