"I have participated in two anti-pandemic battles respectively in Hebei and Wuhan, the frontline in the battle against COVID-19. According to the Guidance for Corona Virus Disease 2019 Prevention, Control, Diagnosis and Management, patients with COVID-19 can be discharged after active treatment and two round of nucleic acid tests that are both confirmed negative, but a negative nucleic acid test only guarantees that the patient is non-infectious, but is still not completely cured." As the 2021 NPC and CPPCC sessions will be held soon, Zhang Boli, the NPC deputy and an academician at the Chinese Academy of Engineering said in an interview with Science and Technology Daily reporters that the round of treatment of patients with COVID-19 will come to end soon, now great emphasis should be placed on the patients’ post-discharge rehabilitation.
The academician Zhang Boli told the reporters that he will submit his proposal “The Call For Attention of The Rehabilitation For COVID-19 Patients” in this year's Two Sessions. Zhang Boli said, because the pandemic hit so quickly that there is a lack of whole course follow-up information of COVID-19 patients. It has been reported that the patient’s long-term COVID-19 symptoms after treatment in the United States and Europe are more likely to occur and are more severe than those in China, and the sequelae also have attracted increasing attention both at home and abroad. The reason why the “Long haulers” appear less frequently and are of less severe symptoms in China deserves our further study. In China, a group of patients with long-term COVID-19 symptoms are in urgent need of a timely and comprehensive rehabilitation intervention of integrated Chinese and Western Medicine(ICWM). This requires us to summarize the experience in taking ICWM rehabilitation strategy, and further to standardize it and start a long-term follow-up of those “Long haulers”.
"It is observed that a lot of patients still complains about problems like shortness of breath after sports, immunological derangement, organ dysfunction, fatigue, muscle pain, irritability, palpitations, night sweats and other psychological disorders such as anxiety and depression." Zhang Boli said according to his medical team that has rich experience in treatment and rehabilitation in Wuhan, Tianjin and Shijiazhuang, they call for timely rehabilitation intervention of ICWM for patients, and their experience shows that an early, comprehensive, standardized rehabilitation program that designed individually can prevent the relapes of COVID-19 patients that cured or discharged from the hospital and promote their recovery, helping them to return to work and life as soon as possible.
Zhang Boli suggested that from the government level, relevant departments should pay much attention to the rehabilitation of patients with COVID-19, for example, carrying out a full range of scientific research on the rehabilitation of COVID-19 patients and establishing a standardized ICWM rehabilitation strategy and evaluation criteria of it. At the same time, designated rehabilitation hospitals should be established, internal training about patients’ rehabilitation should be carried out, and a digital platform should be established for long-term follow-up of the patients’ rehabilitation situation. What’s more, the government is expected to introduce relevant policies and measures to encourage patients to take the initiative to participate in their rehabilitation programs at home, making them consciously take their rehabilitation program seriously; relevant departments should have the rehabilitation treatment included in health insurance areas, giving the COVID-19 patients an appropriate rate of reimbursement during their rehabilitation period.
To be specific, Zhang Boli suggested that the rehabilitation program should adhere to the principle of integrating Chinese and Western Medicine. In particular, the characteristics and advantages of Chinese medicine should be brought into play, and on the basis of a standardized rehabilitation program, individualized ICWM rehabilitation programs should be developed and clinically applied into practice so as to provide a targeted rehabilitation treatment for patients. Therefore, relevant departments should give supports to the development and legalization of the drugs and devices used in rehabilitation programs.
"At present, we has achieved remarkable outcomes in the prevention and control of the pandemic in China. The philosophy of combining the traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and Western medicine in the epidemic prevention and treatment offers oriental wisdom in the fight against COVID-19." Zhang Boli believed, "As a pioneer in focusing on patients’ rehabilitation period, we will develop a Chinese style rehabilitation program for more than 200 million COVID-19 patients worldwide in the future."
This article is forwarded from the official WeChat account中国中医(satcm01).