Integrative Medicine: Long COVID Treatment
The UF Health COVID RESTORE Treatment Program to Support “COVID long-haulers”
- This comprehensive interdisciplinary program is available for person with Persistent Sequelae of SARS-CoV-2, or PASC, also known as Long COVID.
- Patients with PASC diagnosis have persistent symptoms more than 4 weeks after a COVID infection, a positive COVD PCR test or antibodies.
- Ask your physician if you qualify for this PASC/Long COVID program and have them fax a referral to 352.627.4170. You must have been seen in-person by a primary care provider (PCP) within the last month to be referred.
- For those interested in future Long COVID studies at UF/UF Health, please go to the Registry for People with Long COVID for more information.
What to Expect When Calling for an Appointment
- Call 352.265.WELL (9355) to schedule an appointment. If you do not live in the Gainesville area, you may request a telemedicine appointment. You will be given instructions on how to access the telemedicine appointment using the MyUFHealth patient portal.
- Physician visits are covered by insurance. You may be asked to verify your insurance coverage for other services such as rehabilitation, psychology and/or acupuncture.
- Prior to your first appointment, you will be asked to complete a COVID-specific questionnaire, to help us better asses your needs. The questionnaire will be sent through the MyUFHealth patient portal.
Patient Information & Self Care Resources
The UF Health COVID RESTORE program provides short and long-term follow-up care for persons recovering from COVID-19. Individuals with what is commonly called “long COVID” typically experience a range of symptoms affecting different organs. These can continue for several months following the initial infection. Duration is unknown and varies from person to person, but improvement and resolution of some symptoms are observed.
We offer services through the following clinics:
- Primary Care post COVID clinic visit (after hospital discharge or after acute illness)
Extended visits to assess needs, screen symptoms, provide education and referrals
- Rehabilitation and Integrative Medicine Clinic
A physiatrist (physician trained in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation) who is also trained in Integrative Medicine will evaluate and follow patients with post-COVID conditions that impact function. Patients will receive more education on lifestyle changes and safe use of supplements and other complementary therapies.
- Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy Clinics
- Specialty clinics in Neurology, Pulmonary, Cardiology, Nephrology
- Psychology- Four one-hour weekly telehealth sessions to learn mindfulness based tools to improve mood regulation and anxiety management skills. This is billed to insurance.
Self-care and self-management
At the start, we advise that you do a detailed tracking symptoms weekly or daily to include the intensity, duration, frequency, timing and effect of these symptoms on your daily routine.
Loss of abnormal sense of taste and smell can contribute to either an increase or decrease in food intake or to preference for food that contain high amounts of simple sugars, starches, salt, and chemical flavor enhancers. These are frequently found in processed food. High intake of these foods and nutritionally poor and contribute to high levels of inflammation in the body. We recommend reducing intake of these foods and following an anti-inflammatory diet.
- Managing difficulty breathing or breathlessness
Some may continue to experience these even with normal X-rays or pulmonary function tests. Dysfunctional breathing or over-breathing patterns can contribute to these symptoms.
- Managing Fatigue
Patients rank fatigue as a major symptom affecting function and quality of life. We encourage a gradual return to activity to avoid post- exertional fatigue.
- Managing Pain
Using moist heat or ice, and supportive positioning may help reduce pain in addition to prescribed pain medications.
- Managing loss or abnormal taste or smell
This may improve with time, but long-term can affect appetite, weight and safety. Seek an ENT evaluation or work with an occupational therapist. Resources for olfactory retraining from these sites: abscent.org or fifthsense.org.uk
- Mental Health
Reach out to social and emotional supports in your family and community.
- Professional mental health services in the community
- Patients with Gator Care insurance
- Patients with Medicaid or no insurance
- Having a daily practice to cope with current stressors include can be accessed using smartphone based guided audios such as Insight Timer, Calm, Headspace, Freemindfulness.org
- UF Health Street is a community engagement program that links the community with medical and social services and opportunities for research.
- Accessing home care services as you recover may help meet your needs and your family’s as you manage symptoms and recover
- Financial assistance for UF health care services
- Check your employer’s policies for paid sick leave, family leave, short and long-term disability. Job accommodations can be requested by persons with long COVID, which meets the definition of a disability under the Americans with Disability Act (ADA).
- Food Assistance
We encourage you to start a self-care practice that is easiest for you. Discuss other information on this sheet, use of natural products and other concerns with your health care team.
- Irene M EstoresSpecialty: Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation