Long COVID fuels rise in post-acute healthcare encounters –

The burden of long-COVID is evident in increased healthcare utilization, including stays in long-term care facilities, starting two months after a patient tested positive for SARS-CoV- 2, according to a new study.

Investigators analyzed public data from Ontario, Canada, on the rate of health care experienced after COVID-19 infection. Comparisons were made between people who tested positive and matched negative and the results were stratified by sex.

Among more than 530,000 matched people, women and men who tested positive for COVID-19 had more overall healthcare encounters per person-year than those who tested negative. Women also had more days in long-term care facilities and more home visits, while men had more days in long-term care and outpatient visits, but fewer home visits in the following months. the infection.

After controlling for sociodemographic factors, comorbidities and pandemic waves, the average number of days of hospitalization per person-year increased by 6.5 (47%) for women and 8.7 (53%) for women. men eight weeks or more after a positive COVID-19 test, the researchers report.

The comparison does not tell the whole story of how SARS-CoV-2 affects post-acute healthcare utilization, the authors wrote in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. That’s because the biggest increases in use occurred in just 1% or fewer of those infected, they said.

Small Subset, Big Problems

“Although most people infected with SARS-CoV-2 had little or no change in healthcare utilization, a small but important subset of people experienced a large increase in their rate of health care utilization,” they wrote.

The findings reveal that a small subset of people experience a “substantial burden of morbidity long after SARS-CoV-2 infection” and will compete for scarce healthcare resources, they added. To put this into context, the authors noted that a family physician with a typical schedule of 20 outpatient visits per day before the pandemic would need to accommodate an additional 100 visits or consultations per year to accommodate the increase if half of his patients had recently contracted SARS. -CoV-2 infection.

“Stakeholders can use these findings to prepare for the health care demand associated with the post-COVID-19 (long COVID) state,” they concluded.

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