What We’re Learning About Long COVID

In this podcast, Joel VanEaton, executive vice president of PAC regulatory affairs and education at Broad River Rehab, and Mary Kennedy, a professor and the chair of the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at Chapman University, talk about what clinicians may need to know about the emerging population of patients with long COVID.

More than two years into the pandemic, we are only beginning to learn about the long-term effects of COVID-19. Those living with long COVID may experience multiple symptoms, including fatigue, shortness of breath, and brain fog.

The episode opens with a discussion on what clinicians may need to know about the emerging population of patients with long COVID.

As a part of the Broad River Rehab’s educational series called Data Speaks, VanEaton researches and shares information on long COVID trends. In June, VanEaton will present on COVID-19 rehab at the 2022 ASHA Health Care Summit.

“A number of the people that are presenting with these new symptoms didn’t even have symptomology with COVID,” VanEaton says.

Kennedy studies cognitive issues related to brain injuries and COVID and assists patients with long COVID in a clinic at Chapman. She discusses similarities between long COVID and traumatic brain injury (TBI), how she approaches long COVID, and what may be applicable from her work treating mild TBI.

“Some of them may have attention problems, but some of them don’t. Some of them may have some memory impairment, and some of them do not. We’ve used very personalized approaches with these folks, similar to mTBI,” Kennedy says.

Plus, Sarah Eastman, a speech-language pathology student, shares her personal long-COVID story. Eastman noticed unanticipated changes in her health after she thought she’d fully recovered from COVID. During her second semester at Mass General Hospital Institute of Health Professions, she began to experience fatigue, brain fog, and an elevated heart rate.

“I’m not the same person I was before COVID. I went through a traumatic ordeal, and I’m learning to give myself some grace and understanding,” Eastman says.

Eastman says her experience has made her more compassionate in the way she talks to patients. Hear Kennedy and VanEaton’s responses, and why they say they are seeing greater empathy among researchers and clinicians generally.

Read the transcript.