How early intervention support can help with long-covid

The pandemic has drastically changed the way we live and work. We’ve all had to adapt quickly to a new normal, with many stuck at home trying to juggle work and family commitments. As a result of these challenges, many have seen a negative impact on their physical and mental wellbeing.

Our early intervention team are not only supporting employees who are struggling during this time but also people who are still experiencing the short and long-term effects of Covid-19. As part of our Group Income Protection policies, all employers have access to our Early Intervention Service which helps absent employees return to work. Staffed with our in-house registered nurses and vocational rehabilitation consultants, our experienced in-house team provide support from the early stages of absence, increasing the chances of a successful return to the workplace. 

According to the ONS (Office for National Statistics) around 1 in 5 people testing positive for Covid-19 exhibit symptoms for a period of 5 weeks or more. And around 1 in 10 people will exhibit symptoms for 12 weeks or longer.

Our Early Intervention Service is perfectly placed to help employees suffering with the short and long-term effects of Covid-19 and we’ve already adapted our service to better support in this area:

  • We’ve prepared self-help guidance for those experiencing the short and long-term effects of Covid-19 from both a physical and mental health perspective
  • We’ll signpost employees to support services such as WeCare and other services available through the NHS
  • We can prepare phased return to work plans to support individuals, helping them to regain stamina and ease back into their roles gradually
  • If a return to work is unsuccessful, we have a dedicated team to assess Covid-19 claims and help employees return to work once they’re able to do so

A recent case study demonstrates how our team can help:

In early April 2020, John started experiencing breathlessness, headache and fatigue. Feeling unwell, he took some time off to recover, however the symptoms continued much longer then he initially anticipated. Experiencing these symptoms in the middle of the pandemic, he called his GP and a potential diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS/ME) was mentioned.

In July 2020, John still wasn’t feeling well. His employer contacted our Early Intervention team for support. To get a better understanding of his condition, our team suggested that John contacts Best Doctors for a Second Medical Opinion – both services are part of the Support Service package that comes with our Group Income Protection policies. As part of the process, a Canada Life rehabilitation consultant was appointed to overview and help John with his recovery.

In September 2020, the nurse contacted John again to check in on his recovery and assess potential for a return to work. The nurse worked with John and his employer to develop a phased return to work plan. Shortly after, John received his second medical opinion report and a possible diagnosis of Long Covid, which included recommendations and actions to take. Having the support of the rehabilitation consultant in place and following the recommendations from Best Doctors, John’s return to work plan was started. John’s progress has been very good and thankfully he is working towards a full-time return to work.

During 2020, we received 937 referrals to our Early Intervention Service. Our team speak to the employee, prepare a report and provide signposting and guidance to assist both the individual and employer. Out of the referrals that required rehabilitation support, almost 90% of employees managed to return to work with the support of the team.

The majority of absences during 2020 were related to mental health including those impacted by Covid-19 and the lockdown situation. We’re proud to have helped so many employees get back to work in a time of such uncertainty and pressure.

Find out more about our Early Intervention Service.

* The name of the person involved has been changed to protect their privacy