Physician assistant Isala Eline Steenhuis: months after covid-19 people are still not the same

We often hear poignant stories about what people went through when they were sick

ZWOLLE – Physician assistant Eline Steenhuis often sees people passing by who are still not the same months after having had covid-19. They still experience complaints. Two afternoons a week she sees about six patients every afternoon.

The backgrounds of these people differ. Some have had proven corona and have been referred by their GP, for example. Others have had symptoms but have never been tested. There are also people who have been in hospital with us and are now being seen again. What they all have in common is that months later they are still not the same. ”

Gripping stories

Before the first outpatient visit, the doctors often have a lung photo, CT scan and lung function test done on the patients, to determine whether and to what extent there is damage. ” We then discuss these results during the consultation hour itself. We often hear poignant stories about what people went through when they were sick. But what they find most difficult is that they are still hindered in their daily activities. The multitude of complaints is enormous. For example, they continue to suffer from extreme fatigue, muscle pain, concentration problems and chest pain. And it is often relatively young people who struggle with this. In addition, they are sometimes also people who had fairly mild complaints, who still have not recovered months later. ”


‘If the results of the CT scan and lung function test are abnormal, a new appointment will be made to have another examination in a few months to see whether the damage and inflammation have been repaired. If the results are good, you can sometimes allay some of people’s concerns. At the same time, it does not always offer relief; the complaints they still experience will not go away. ‘

“The tricky part is that we cannot always offer someone something concrete. If there is an indication to refer someone to a rehabilitation doctor, we will do so. For example, in patients who experience problems in daily activities and at work. People can also work on their recovery together with their GP and / or physiotherapist, for example. We offer everyone assistance from a medical psychologist. This can be very valuable for some people, for example to learn to deal with the limitations they still experience. ”

Rehabilitation process

What Eline has noticed is that patients who have undergone a rehabilitation process seem to benefit greatly from this. ” It is still too early to draw conclusions from this now. We will continue to collect all kinds of data in the coming period, just like many other hospitals nationally and worldwide do. I expect that the knowledge that we all acquire together will eventually be brought together, so that we learn from each other. So that we can use the treatment and associated aftercare even more effectively for subsequent infections. ”

“We now know more about what covid-19 does to the body. Much more than when corona just emerged. For example, that it can cause serious inflammation in the lungs, but can also damage other organs. As a result of this, protocols have been drawn up, which will enable us to collaborate more multidisciplinary in the near future. I think that will benefit new patients infected with COVID-19 a lot. ”

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