Integrated Absence Management: Returning to Work After Long COVID

Jai Hooker@Work


Returning to Work After Long COVID: Focus on Accommodation

By Glenn Pransky, MD, MOccH, Scientific Advisor, Lincoln Financial Group; David Berube, MD, MPH, Chief Medical Officer, Lincoln Financial Group; Joanne Rosa, Vice President, Group Product Solutions, Lincoln Financial Group

Long COVID or post-COVID conditions (PCC) include symptoms that last a month or longer and affect up to 30% of people after acute COVID-19 infection.1 It is difficult to evaluate impairment, work restrictions, and accommodations, but new guidance is emerging.2

The Post-COVID Challenge

The initial infection can affect many body functions, including the nervous, respiratory, cardiovascular, endocrine, gastrointestinal, renal, mental, and cognitive systems.3 PCC illness patterns vary greatly — from specific complications such as lung disease to symptoms that are not explained by clinical findings. A thorough medical evaluation is important because there is no specific test to confirm a PCC diagnosis4 and because in some presentations, symptoms may be unrelated to COVID and caused by another illness, such as fatigue due to hypothyroidism.

The wide-ranging social and mental health impacts of the pandemic may also contribute to a variety of symptoms that may be unrelated to a COVID illness.5

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