More than six out of 10 people diagnosed with Covid-19 go on to experience long Covid symptoms, according to research from Canada Life.
However the insurer found that the majority (93 per cent) of those experiencing these longer-term health problems have received support for this from their employer as they returned to work.
This ranged from the ability to access virtual health and wellbeing services (37 per cent), to work more flexibly (32 per cent) and to reduce working hours (32 per cent).
Canada Life says around one in 20 people surveyed had received a positive test for Covid-19, of which 65 per cent went on to experience symptoms associated with long Covid.
Symptoms can vary widely from prolonged breathlessness and fatigue to joint pain and ‘brain fog’. Little is currently known about how long the symptoms last but a recent ONS survey revealed that 376,000 have experienced them for at least a year.
Canada Life, protection sales director, Dan Crook says: “For a significant amount of people who have contracted the virus, they are left with a number of potentially very debilitating symptoms.
“In these cases it is essential that employers display understanding towards any employees reporting symptoms and it is reassuring to see so many offering support services and flexibility to their affected colleagues. These relatively simple measures can go a long way towards someone’s rehabilitation and help take the pressure off their road to recovery.”
John Kendall, Canada Life rehabilitation consultant adds: “This research really backs up what our nursing team are seeing at ground level.
“The symptoms associated with long Covid are relatively common such as breathlessness, fatigue and joint pain. Thankfully for most incapacity is relatively short, normally around three to six months, but some people experience a slower recovery requiring patience from all parties.
“Employers have risen to the challenge and in the vast majority of cases are offering support to help get their employees back to work.
“This should be a collaborative approach between the employer and employee. Adjustments may need to be made to their working hours or workload, perhaps allowing them to continue working from home, endorsing lighter duties or even just more concerted communication to ensure any worries or concerns are dealt with promptly.
“With the opening of long Covid clinics and with medical research evolving continuously, we hope to see more robust support for individuals moving forward. Ongoing employer support and understanding is going to be crucial.”
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