HUS Outpatient Clinics for Functional Disorders and Long-Term Effects of COVID-19 will merge to form the Outpatient Clinic for Persistent Symptom Rehabilitation in early AugustKeywords:
HUS has been a pioneer in developing treatment for two challenging patient groups: functional disorders and long-term effects of COVID-19 infection. The outpatient clinics treating these patients have proven to be necessary. By combining the two, we avoid the vulnerability of two small clinics and make efficient use of the current resources. At the same time, the rehabilitation expertise in treating persistent symptoms will be strengthened.
The Outpatient Clinic for Functional Disorders began operating in 2019. The Outpatient Clinic for Long-Term Effects of COVID-19 was launched in 2021. The common feature of these clinics is that both treat long-term symptoms.
“In addition to treating patients, the outpatient clinics have had a significant task in nationwide training and development that has already been effective. Competence in caring for these patients in primary healthcare has improved. Patients have been referred to these two outpatient clinics also from various specialities in specialised healthcare”, says Head Physician Markku Sainio from HUS.
The outpatient clinics will merge in the beginning of August, and the new outpatient clinic’s name will be Rehabilitation Outpatient Clinic for Persistent Symptoms.
Combining the two clinics does not mean that HUS considers the long-term symptoms of COVID-19 to be functional disorders. Head Physician Helena Liira from HUS stresses that so far, the long-term symptoms of COVID-19 have not been proven to be functional disorders, and studying the symptoms will continue to provide new knowledge on the matter.
“The illness seems to be multifactorial and heterogeneous. It is likely that no single cause can be identified and that the biopsychosocial approach will remain to be the basis of rehabilitation. The aim is to promote recovery.”
Research and development are still needed, and HUS is committed to the Long COVID EU Horizon project, which studies the illness’s biomechanics, until the end of 2026.
Both outpatient clinics have received a significant number of referrals. The COVID-19 pandemic continues, and it seems that the long-term symptoms will require rehabilitation for years. “By combining the two small outpatient clinics, we ensure efficient use of resources and expertise,” Sainio says.