The Royal Adelaide Hospital has established a Long COVID Assessment Clinic to coordinate care for people experiencing continued symptoms.
What is long COVID and what are its symptoms?
Long COVID describes a set of symptoms that continue long after the initial COVID-19 infection has gone.
Long COVID is not just about people taking time to recover from a stay in intensive care. Even people who had relatively mild COVID-19 symptoms at the time can experience long COVID symptoms.
Doctors are constantly learning about this condition which has a variety of different symptoms affecting many parts of the body. There is no medical definition or list of symptoms shared by all patients – two people with long COVID can have very different experiences.
Symptoms can include:
- a cough that won’t go away
- joint pain
- muscle aches
- hearing and eyesight problems
- loss of smell and taste
- damage to the heart, lungs, kidneys and gut
Struggling to think clearly (brain fog) and mental health problems such as depression, anxiety have also been reported.
Many of these symptoms could be caused by other conditions, which medical professionals would expect to investigate and rule out first.
Access to the clinic
General practitioners (GP) and specialists can refer patients with suspected Long COVID syndrome when symptoms have not resolved after 12 weeks. Patients may require a chest x-ray and a series of blood tests prior to referral.
The clinical team will review your needs and recommend the most appropriate support and rehabilitation to manage your ongoing care. This will include an appropriate treatment plan which may involve referring you to other specialist or allied health services within the team. The team will let you and your GP know of the recommendation.
The Long COVID Assessment Clinic has specialist input from CALHN’s respiratory, cardiology, neurology, pain medicine, ENT, rheumatology, renal medicine, haematology, general medicine, geriatric, rehabilitation, physiotherapy, exercise physiology and mental health teams.
The Long COVID Assessment Clinic is currently accepting referrals. Please refer to the following documents:
- Assessment of person with prolonged symptoms following COVID-19 infection [flowchart] (PDF 80KB)
- Long COVID assessment clinic referral form (PDF 224KB)
- Long COVID patient support groups (Lung Foundation website)
- Self-rehabilitation (WHO website)
- Information from The Long COVID Alliance, including educational videos (Bateman Horne Center website)
Referral from your GP
You need a referral letter from your GP or health professional to access this service.
Referrals will only be accepted for patients whose primary place of residence is within the CALHN catchment. (Please note that referrals coming from CALHN agencies are exempt from this restriction).
Once they have sent the referral through, you will be placed on a waiting list.
Once an appointment becomes available, you will receive a letter confirming your appointment time.