Covid @ casa, ASL physiotherapists in the field for the home rehabilitation of patients © Asl Bari
Personalized home rehabilitation treatments for patients still positive or cured of Covid with teams of physiotherapists dedicated to them who will also be operational with telemedicine systems as early as Monday 7 June in all the health and social districts of the province of Bari. It is the new model of territorial health care designed by the ASL of Bari which this morning started the training of the first 29 physiotherapists, scheduled for tomorrow, in the conference room of the Civil Protection of the Fiera del Levante. Physiotherapists will be involved in the district rehabilitation teams, as part of the Covid @ casa project, promoted by the Puglia Region, Aress and Regional Civil Protection and intended for the post-Covid rehabilitation of patients who have contracted the infection.
For health councilor Pier Luigi Lopalco – who spoke on the opening day of the training – “Covid was a tragedy – he said – we are committed to relaunching a new vision of the health system, and home rehabilitation care is indicative of this work. The professionals who will work on Covid patients in this period – added Lopalco – will remain embedded in the system, they will be used to strengthen the proximity assistance services that are part of our health vision ».
Councilor Lopalco then took the opportunity to send a message to all people under the age of fifty: “Attention – he said – the coronavirus can be a bad infection even for those who are younger and have no pathologies. This is why in Puglia, once all the most fragile people and the vast majority of people over sixty have been made safe, we must achieve high coverage among the youngest. Because the virus continues to circulate, even if it has loosened its grip: if we do not see people in the hospital it is because we are vaccinating. In the fall, if we do not use this moment of the summer break to complete the vaccination campaign, we will see people in hospital again because they have not been vaccinated. This phenomenon is already visible in other countries such as the UK. It is in the pockets of the unvaccinated population that the virus continues to circulate and do damage, even among young people. This is why we have opened, according to the instructions of Commissioner Figliuolo, to all age groups.
In a few days it will also be the turn of children aged 12 to 15, we are only waiting for the official communication of the Ministry of Health to start with the vaccination of even the most fragile and then during the summer we will vaccinate adolescents, students, university students to start school and universities in the presence and in safety. We are trying to offer vaccination to everyone and we will do it throughout the summer, Saturday, Sunday, August 15th without respite and without stopping. My message to everyone is: get vaccinated ». Lopalco also said that the second Astrazeneca doses will be ensured and that the Region is committed to reducing waiting lists also by seeking special resources to increase shifts. “The assistance and diagnosis activities must be accelerated, on this the Region is 100% committed”.
The Covid @ casa project is supported and promoted by the Health Department of the Puglia Region which aims to make it a first step towards the future creation of a regional Department dedicated to frailties. This was confirmed by the director Vito Montanaro: “Rehabilitation at home for the benefit of Covid patients is the embryo through which the Region will be able to reach a model of home care for the fragile and chronic patient with no more doubts about the future – commented Montanaro – it is one of the intuitions born with President Emiliano during the pandemic to reach our fellow citizens at home in an effective way to treat their cardiological, pneumological and physical recovery ».
The Asl Bari – with the support of the Territorial Assistance Department – worked quickly to create the rehabilitation teams, also taking advantage of the current pandemic moment characterized by a significant decrease in infections. “We are dealing with all those people who bear the signs of Covid – said the dg Asl Bari, Antonio Sanguedolce – it is time to face the scars of this pandemic and promote the maximum recovery of people by ensuring them a better quality of life. This is why we immediately grasped the input of the Region – continued Sanguedolce – to lead the way in an experimentation activity that will also exploit telemedicine and tele-rehabilitation to evaluate case by case ».
It will be the Department of territorial assistance of the Local Health Authority directed by Dr. Enzo Gigantelli to coordinate the work of the physiotherapists, organized in teams under the supervision of a physiatrist director and with the support of the task force directed by the anesthetist Felice Spaccavento. Two rehabilitation units have been assigned to each district, while in Bari, in consideration of the wider catchment area, six have been assigned. Aress and regional civil protection will respectively make available the technological resources and logistical support through the control rooms present on the regional territory for remote monitoring of patients.
“All those who have a Covid infection or outcomes of this infection that may have involvement of the lung or other organs and systems will access the service – explains Dr. Gigantelli – the staff will be activated by the general practitioner or by the discharge ward doctor hospital who will make a request for a physiatric visit for post Covid rehabilitation ».
After the visit, an individual rehabilitation program (PRI) is prescribed with weekly cycles of therapy and telerehabilitation interventions if necessary. The therapies include: respiratory, motor and neuropsychological rehabilitation. Outpatient activities are also provided before or after home treatments and also in this case telemedicine can be used to strengthen the results achieved. At the end of the period established for the recovery of the patient, the physiatrist, on the basis of the activity carried out by the physiotherapists, evaluates the termination of the treatment or its extension also with any other assistance settings.