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[May 28, 2020] COVID-19 Crisis Continues – For COVID-19 Survivors – Rehabilitation Begins

Posted May 28, 20202 min Read

Regulatory & Clinical

COVID-19 is far from over and we are reminded daily by the media, CDC, CMS, politicians and our state surveyors that our population of residents living in long-term care facilities, skilled nursing and rehabilitation settings, and assisted living residences are at highest risk of morbidity and mortality related to COVID-19 infection.  Despite the odds, residents in nursing homes and assisted living residences are recovering from COVID-19 infections.

Most are weak, forgetful, confused, deconditioned, and maybe not even able to get out of bed causing a layering effect of even more complications. Some of our COVID-19 surveyors will experience significant lung fibrosis – scaring of the lungs and reduced lung function and because of the likelihood of preexisting illness that complicates things more, are prone to developing pneumonia and wounds after their COVID-19 recovery in spite of everything we do to prevent that.

Our attention to COVID-19 survivors’ recovery and rehabilitation will need focus and consider the following as you design individual COVID-19 person-centered recovery plans of care:

Pain management

  • Headaches
  • Neck pain
  • Rib pain
  • Back pain
  • Pelvic pain


  • Breathing difficulty
  • Altered oxygen levels
  • Aerobic capacity


  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Diminished function
  • Mobility


  • Balance
  • Walking
  • Coordination
  • Cognitive decline/confusion


  • Develop an interdisciplinary approach to COVID-19 recovery.
  • Implement a strong pain management plan with non-pharmacological approaches included.
  • Address risks of complications including pneumonia, risk for wound development and nutritional risks.
  • Assessment of the new resident baseline is important and well documented.
  • Identify creative ways to maximize resources for recovery residents. Its difficult with such a high number of sick residents and employees.  There are limited number of staff and therapist.
  • Share your positive stories and celebrations with staff, families, social media and IHCA/INCAL.

About the Author

Lori Davenport, Director of Regulatory and Clinical Affairs