Post COVID-19 Program opens at Wheeling Hospital

Wheeling Hospital recently announced its plans to open up a post-COVID rehab program for those who experience symptoms after contracting the virus. According to the hospital’s website, post-COVID symptoms vary, but can include shortness of breath, cardiac deficits, fatigue, and memory loss. The goal of the rehabilitation program is to help patients with the long-term effects of COVID and hopefully prevent them from having to be hospitalized.

According to the CDC, some who have experienced post-COVID symptoms, including memory issues, also have difficulty concentrating, headaches, and some even suffer from depression. Suzanne Holsen, Occupational Therapy director, said, “These symptoms can result in difficulty returning to your everyday life and participating in daily activities such as dressing, bathing, grooming, toileting, cooking, cleaning, shopping, driving, returning to work or school, swallowing, communicating or walking,” according to the Wheeling Hospital’s news release.

The rehabilitation process is supposed to begin in the hospital, but it will eventually allow patients to seek care at home and then occasional visits to the hospital and outpatient care. According to Director of Rehabilitation Services, Sheila Archer, “We provide a multidisciplinary approach with physical, occupational and speech therapy.”

While this program will likely help a lot of people, it hasn’t always been smooth sailing since the virus hit. Gretchen Ennis, a registered nurse (RN) at Wheeling hospital shared some of her experience during the pandemic. “[The nurses] were frustrated because we were expected to work in different locations while COVID cases were rising, and staffing was low due to staff being out sick with COVID.” She continued, “The biggest change at the hospital that I noticed was visitation limitations. Only one visitor per day was allowed, but this is slowly starting to change.”

Even though there was a rocky start, after a year of dealing with the virus, things have seemed to have gotten better. Ennis says, “We definitely have less hospitalizations, but still see positive cases.”

She also shared that walk-ins are available at certain vaccination sites. “I think that as long as you have a legal guardian with you if you’re under 18, or if you’re a resident of Ohio County, you can walk-in to the Wheeling Hospital and health department clinic at the Highlands.”

For more vaccination information, visit the CDC site or call a vaccination site. If you are experiencing any post-COVID symptoms, you can call your preferred hospital, or call one of Wheeling Hospital’s outpatient rehabilitation departments listed on the website.