The Rebound Kentucky: Program developed to help COVID-19 'long haulers'

Posted at 3:23 PM, Mar 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-12 19:37:21-05

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — The Rebound Kentucky is dedicated to helping Kentuckians navigate the challenges of the pandemic. For people who have gotten COVID-19, that can include a long-term recovery process.

Results Physiotherapy says 10-20% of people who got sick still have lingering symptoms months later. That's why they've developed a program for COVID-19 long haulers.

District Operations Lead Brett Lemmons, describes the long hauler program as a four-step process designed individually for each patient.

The first step looks at the patient's limitations.

"The second portion of that phase is initial strength and reconditioning. The next phase on top of that is an extrapolation on that, so that's when we're really incorporating bands and weights and resistance and we're pushing them to do a little bit more," Lemmons said.

It's a process, that has helped someone like Chelsie Pederson, who tested positive for COVID-19 in July.

"Breathing and speaking full sentences were definitely an issue. I wasn't able to say 5 words without getting really winded," Pederson said.

Even after testing negative, those symptoms lingered.

"Before COVID, I was working out 5-6 days a week, doing HIIT training, strength training, cardio training, stuff like that. Then after COVID, I wasn't even able to walk a single flight of stairs without being short of breath," Pederson said.

The 27-year-old says she met with her doctor about her ongoing symptoms and was eventually directed to Results Physiotherapy, to join the COVID-19 long hauler program. Each patient receives an individualized, four-step program to improve everything from breathing to balance and joint restrictions.

"General exercises for their lower extremities, so you know, they've been stagnant for so long the muscles are deconditioned, so we're doing basic strengthening exercises for the legs, the arms, anything we can do to rebuild muscle," Lemmons said.

Pederson has now been in the program for three weeks.

"It used to be she'd do 10-15 squats, her RP, so that rate of perceived exertion scale would be off the charts, we'd have to have a break and let her recover, rest. But now she goes through a whole circuit," physical therapist Katie Hill said.

"I have 2 little kids, and it was so hard to keep up with them this past summer after COVID. I just felt so bad for them because we weren't able to go out and do the normal activities because I was just so fatigued. But now I'm hoping this summer will be a lot different for us," Pederson added.

Results Physiotherapy has 175 offices across the southeast. The office says while some insurance agencies require a doctor's note, you don't need one to sign up for the program.