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UCHealth, CU School of Medicine launch COVID-19 project to follow up with hospitalized patients

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- UCHealth and students at the University of Colorado School of Medicine Colorado Springs Branch have launched a program that seeks to glean information on how COVID-19 patients are faring after they leave the hospital. The goal of the project is to improve care for patients while shaping how they treat and approach COVID-19 in the future.

The project has already tested more than 125 patients who were hospitalized at UCHealth in the Pikes Peak Region.

Medical students have noted an array of lingering effects, most notably depression, anxiety, and loneliness.

Danielle Davis, a third-year student at the University of Colorado School of Medicine says, “I hear a lot about isolation when I call patients who have been hospitalized with COVID-19. A lot of people report feeling lonely when they're in the hospital and also lonely when they get home, feeling like other people don't want to be around them after they've had a diagnosis of COVID-19."

Dr. Robert Lam, an emergency medicine physician at UCHealth Memorial and clinical assistant professor at the CU School of Medicine, also notes that patients tend to suffer from anxiety.

Lam says, “We're learning that a lot of patients were struggling with anxiety and depression, and loneliness, after being discharged from the hospital. And they still have, unfortunately, both the emotional impact of a great fear of returning to their families and the community. That was something that we probably would not have known if we didn't have the project ongoing.”

However, not all findings have been negative.

Davis clarifies that there's been a positive effect for some patients. The medical student says, “I've also heard a lot about having a new outlook on life. A lot of people talk about having a new emphasis on family and spending time with their family, and caring for their loved ones. And several people have also talked to me about a spiritual journey that they had while they were in the hospital because of how close they came to dying from COVID-19.”

The medical students' findings will help improve future care, offer insight into how patients are doing both phsyically and emotionally after they leave the hospital.

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Kerjan Donovan


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