COVID long-haulers can get help at a new Montreal clinic for research and care

A new clinic at the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal is battling the long COVID, and less than a week after it opened, 40 patients have come through its doors seeking help.

“Not only does it affect people on their physical well-being but also from a psychological point of view: when you are not able to work, when you are always tired, when you are not able to occupy yourself of your children,” said Lucie Tremblay, associate executive director of the city’s mid-west health authority.

Patients at the new clinic have persistent symptoms like shortness of breath, fatigue and brain fog. Part of the clinic’s mission is to learn more about the disease while helping patients recover from it.

Dr. Karl Weiss, head of infectious diseases at the Jewish General, says most people recover fully within weeks of contracting COVID, but some — even those with mild versions of the disease — may have symptoms that last. a long time after.

These symptoms, which can vary in intensity from day to day, can be disabling, making it difficult to perform daily activities or return to work or school.

Lucie Tremblay, associate director general of the Central West Montreal Health Authority, says people suffer from debilitating symptoms that prevent them from leading normal lives. (Radio Canada)

But the interdisciplinary clinic isn’t just for patients struggling with persistent symptoms of COVID-19. It’s also for people with Lyme disease, a condition Quebec is seeing more often as tick populations grow.

“We are responding to a growing need and ensuring that people with either of these debilitating conditions receive the best treatment possible,” said Dr. Lawrence Rosenberg, President and CEO of the CIUSSS du Centre- West-of-the-Island-of-Montreal in the press release.

“At the same time, research represents an important part of this initiative, and I am confident that we will gain a better understanding of both long-term COVID syndrome and Lyme disease, which bodes well for the future.”

The complexity of long COVID and Lyme disease requires the expertise of professionals in multiple specialties, the statement said.

This means ensuring that there are healthcare professionals like nurses, specialist doctors, physiotherapists and social workers in person or virtually available to help clinic patients.

The clinic will provide care for Lyme disease patients whose symptoms persist after standard treatment ends, the statement said.

Dr. Karl Weiss, chief of infectious diseases at the Jewish General Hospital, says the new clinic will help better understand the long COVID. (Radio Canada)

The new clinic has a budget to operate for three years. Interested patients should obtain a referral from a family physician or nurse practitioner.

Weiss said the long research and knowledge on COVID is rapidly merging and evolving.

The goal, he explained, is to establish a referral center to provide patients with state-of-the-art care while improving their understanding of the disease.

“We learn this process,” he said. “We’re definitely going to learn a lot more in the next few years. What’s causing long COVID, who’s at risk, why some people and not others, what we can do to help those people.”

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