The objective of this study was to explore the experience of accessing Long COVID community rehabilitation from the perspectives of people with Long COVID and General Practitioners (GPs). This was a qualitative descriptive study, employing one-to-one semi-structured virtual interviews that were analysed using the framework method. The study focused on four NHS Scotland territorial health boards. Participants included eleven people with Long COVID (1 male, 10 female; aged 40-65 [mean 53]), and 13 GPs (5 male, 8 female). Four key themes were identified: i) The lived experience of Long COVID; ii) The challenges of an emergent and complex chronic condition; iii) Systemic challenges for Long COVID service delivery, and iv) Perceptions and experiences of Long COVID and its management, including rehabilitation. The study concluded that there are several patient, GP, and service-level barriers to accessing community rehabilitation for Long COVID. There is a need for greater understanding by the public, GPs, and other potential referrers of the role of community rehabilitation professionals in the management of Long COVID. There is also a need for community rehabilitation services to be well promoted and accessible to the people with Long COVID for whom they may be appropriate. Service providers need to consider availability and accessibility of Long COVID rehabilitation and ensure adequate interprofessional communication and collaboration to enhance the experience for people with Long COVID.


The copyright holder for this preprint is the author/funder, who has granted medRxiv a license to display the preprint in perpetuity. It is made available under a CC-BY-NC 4.0 International license. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/

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Cooper, K., Duncan, E., Hart-Winks, E., Cowie, J., Shim, J., Stage, E., Tooman, T., Alexander, L., Love, A., Morris, J., Ormerod, J., Preston, J. & Swinton, P. 2023, 'Exploring the perceptions and experiences of community rehabilitation for long COVID from the perspectives of Scottish General Practitioners and people living with long COVID: a qualitative study [pre-print]'. To be published in medRxiv [Preprint]. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1101/2023.11.06.23298096

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Last updated: 08 February 2024
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