University of Southern California: Keck Medicine of USC launches COVID Recovery Clinic to treat patients with long COVID-19

Keck Medicine of USC has launched its COVID Recovery Clinic, a multidisciplinary program led by a core team of clinicians specializing in primary care, pulmonology and physical therapy. These experts connect patients with additional Keck Medicine specialists as patients’ unique needs require, including physical and occupational therapists, behavioral health specialists, cardiologists, neurologists, rheumatologists, social workers and more.

The core team works together – simultaneously seeing patients in one visit if needed – to create an initial comprehensive workup while partnering with a nurse navigator to implement an integrated, personalized treatment plan.

“Given the extremely high number of people experiencing lingering, and oftentimes quite disruptive symptoms, we need to find ways to help patients get back to functioning in their lives,” said Caitlin McAuley, DO, family medicine physician with Keck Medicine and specialist who works with long COVID-19 patients. “As an academic medical center, Keck Medicine is dedicated to learning all we can about long COVID-19 to improve treatment options so we can provide our patients with the care they need and deserve.”

While many recover from COVID-19 without any noticeable issues, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates one-in-three individuals infected experience long COVID-19 after they are virus-free for weeks, and even months. Many experience a wide range of symptoms including fatigue, breathlessness, body aches, joint pain, cough and chest pain, diarrhea, dizziness, brain fog, vision blurriness, anxiety and sadness and more.

Keck Medicine patient Morgan Stephens, 31, tested positive for COVID-19 in November 2020. Just a few weeks after recovering from a mild case of COVID-19, she began to experience debilitating, and otherwise unexplainable, symptoms.

She kept a diary to log her symptoms, which totaled more than 50 by the time she was no longer able to work, and moved from the East Coast to Los Angeles to receive specialized care from Keck Medicine physicians who were dedicating time to long COVID-19 patients. Here, the health system began treating her severe brain fog, body tremors, headaches, insomnia, vertigo, fatigue and depression.

“Coming to Keck Medicine was absolutely necessary for me. I’d been repeatedly dismissed and told I was just being dramatic by those that didn’t believe long COVID-19 was real,” said Stephens. “Keck Medicine’s doctors are up to date on the latest research and best treatments available to help get me better and back to my normal life. Their knowledge and dedication has made all the difference in my successful recovery journey.”

Now, a year-and-a-half after the start of her first long COVID-19 symptoms, Stephens has made tremendous progress. While she still experiences headaches and vertigo, she feels well enough to move back to the East Coast to resume working full-time, confident that she can manage her remaining symptoms thanks to her team of Keck Medicine physicians.

Comments are closed.