‘LONG Covid’ sufferers in Warwickshire and Coventry can turn to a new free online support programme.
Free self-management courses are being launched by two local social enterprises – Hope For The Community CIC and Atrium Health Coventry – as part of wider support for people experiencing longer-term effects of coronavirus.
The peer-support led online course has been developed by people living with long Covid, health and social care professionals, and researchers from Coventry University. It is the latest in a series of Help Overcoming Problems Effectively (HOPE) programmes, underpinned by cutting-edge research.
The Hope Programme for long Covid offers people on their road to recovery an opportunity to come together in a safe online environment to learn how to cope and feel supported by each other with help from trained facilitators.
With interactive activities, videos, and social networking via messaging and forums, participants will be able to record their symptoms, track their progress and learn to manage their condition at home with bespoke support.
Long Covid has been defined as the signs and symptoms that develop during or after an infection consistent with coronavirus, that continue for more than 12 weeks and are not explained by an alternative diagnosis.
Mark, a film maker and carer who helped develop the course, fell ill in March 2020 with Covid-19, and still suffers from long Covid symptoms nearly 18 months on.
He said: “The programme was a breath of fresh air. I actually spoke online to people like me all who had suffered in very similar ways. We all shared an experience that was very emotional.
“It was the first time we had actually been listened to. I look forward to completing the programme with other people with long Covid.”
Gabriela Matouskova, CEO of Hope For The Community CIC said: “While many people recover from Covid quickly, some who were not hospitalised have been suffering for months from fatigue and a range of other symptoms.
“We have heard firsthand that people feel disbelieved, abandoned, isolated, and alone. They also told us that they are wary about leaving their home or don’t have the energy to do so.”
Andy Turner, Professor of Health Psychology at Coventry University, said: “Research into long Covid is ongoing. This new Hope Programme will offer much needed help and support for people who are living with this debilitating condition.
“We want to offer people a chance to come together safely, share their experience, and learn to use evidence-based tools and techniques to help them on their road to recovery.”
Anyone can sign-up to the programme without formal diagnosis or a referral. The course starts on September 22 and runs for eight weeks. It is accessible from PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone. Each weekly session takes around an hour, and people can complete it at any time convenient to them. There will also be an optional weekly Hope Café, a 45-minute Zoom session for people to come together, share their experiences and chat.
Visit https://www.hopecwr.h4c.org.uk or call 024773 601 53 for more information or to book a place.