Patients use first-hand experience to create Long COVID advice videos
Stephanie and George are some of the long COVID patients that have helped design a series of 10 short videos to support fellow patients with their recovery.
The animations are called the ‘COVID Recovery Puzzle’ to reflect how recuperation can feel like putting the pieces of life back together again.
The videos, which are available on the Guy’s and St Thomas’ website, have been created by participants in the South East London Long COVID programme and clinicians. They hope to increase understanding of the condition and open up conversations with family, friends and employers.
Top tips include planning rest periods before you feel tired and using a traffic light system to assess symptoms ahead of carrying out an activity. Each film finishes with three key things to remember.
Mum-of-two Stephanie Schreiber joined the Long COVID programme about 18 months ago. She caught COVID in March 2020 and it took a full year before her condition stabilised and she started to see improvements. She had difficulty returning to everyday activity and suffered fatigue, chest pain and gastrointestinal issues.
“We have thought carefully about how to simply present complex concepts to make it really easy for people who are struggling – just as we were. We were keen to ensure that the videos are bite size and easy to understand.”
Long COVID patient, Stephanie Schreiber
Stephanie, still suffers from Long COVID symptoms and says her recovery is about 75 per cent of where she would like it to be. She lost her job in employee wellbeing due to her illness but is hoping to retrain and gain a health coach qualification.
George Apunte, 42, father of two and carer to his wife who has a chronic illness, caught COVID for the third time in April 2022.
He tried to return to his job working on the gateline for a railway company once the isolation period finished but this made his ongoing symptoms a lot worse. He ended up being signed off work for almost a year, due to suffering with dizziness, crushing fatigue and difficulty walking.
George Apunte, 42, admits that he felt tearful when he saw the final versions of the videos.
“The Long COVID programme has helped me realise that I am not alone in this struggle. It has been good to be around people that actually understand and know what you are talking about. It is a step by step process, but I feel so grateful to be achieving things again.”
Long COVID patient, George Apunte
George began working again the end of March 2023, doing two hours, two days a week. His working pattern has gradually increased and he hopes to return to full time hours this month.
The South East London Long Programme is a two-year programme funded by NHS Charities Together and Guy’s & St Thomas’ Charity. It covers all five NHS Trusts in south east London and their hospital charities, with the aim of accelerating the recovery of people with Long COVID across the six boroughs of south east London.
Help support programmes like The South East London Long COVID Programme.