Long-term effects of COVID-19 revealed in important Australian study

A recent Monash University study, led by Professor Carol Hodgson, has found six months after recovering from COVID-19 critical illness, one in five people had died, and almost 40 per cent of survivors had a new disability.

One person who has experienced this first hand is former Alfred ICU patient Sherene Magana Cruz, who was interviewed along with Prof Hodgson for a special report on ABC's 7.30. Their story was also covered on the main ABC newspage and across News Corp outlets.

Professor Hodgson and her colleagues looked at COVID-19 critical illness across Australia between March 6 and October 4, 2020, measuring mortality, new disability and return to work in people who had been admitted to intensive care units.

The study found 71.3 per cent of surviving patients reported persistent symptoms such as shortness of breath, loss of strength, fatigue, headaches and loss of sense of smell and taste after recovering from the critical illness.

There was also a significant decrease in health-related quality of life across all domains, but particular participants reported new problems with mobility (33.9 per cent), usual activities (43.2 per cent) and pain (34.2 per cent), as well as cognitive impairment (33.3 per cent), and one fifth (20 per cent) reporting anxiety (20.2 per cent), depression (20 per cent) and/or PTSD (18.4 per cent).  More than one in 10 survivors were unemployed due to poor health.

The findings are published in Critical Care today, and highlight the ongoing need for support for the many Australians who have recovered from critical illness due to COVID-19.

Read more on the University News page.

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