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P110 Exploring the impact of long COVID on the health, wellbeing and education/employment prospects of adults living in the North East of England
  1. Steph Scott,
  2. Rachele Salvatelli
  1. Population Health Sciences Institute, Newcastle University, Newcastle, UK

Abstract

Background Long Covid is a patient-made term used to summarise the experiences of long-term Covid illness, characterised as cyclical, progressive and multiphasic (Callard and Perego, 2021). Long Covid is often described as a confusing illness, with numerous and varied relapsing and remitting symptoms, which lead its sufferers to a heavy sense of loss and stigma (Ladds et al., 2020). The impact of this condition has been widely discussed both in medical and sociological literature (Garg et al., 2021; Carfi et al., 2020; Lopez-Leon et al., 2021; Davis et al., 2020; Callan et al., 2022; Kingstone et al., 2020; Ladds et al., 2020; Rushforth et al., 2021). However, these works have not fully addressed the repercussions that Long Covid might have on the health, wellbeing and education and employment prospects of the people living with this condition. In this paper, we analyse the lived experiences of adults living in the North East of England in order to better understand how Long Covid has impacted their lives and the region.

Methods This small-scale qualitative multi-method study uses in-depth interviews with people who have experienced Long Covid, interviews with regional businesses representatives, and Freedom of Information Requests sent out to major employing organisations in the North of England. Data was then analysed using thematic and content analysis.

Results The findings of our research project suggest that Long Covid is a multi-layered and complex condition whose repercussions extend beyond the physical and mental health symptoms of the illness into other parts of people’s lives, including their sense of self and professional identity. The lack of a strong support network and the changes in their professional identity has led most participants to experience forms of social isolation and exclusion. The people who took part in our study used to have active lifestyles and are now navigating the social, physical and psychological complexities of disabled living. The situation seems to be exacerbated by the fact that regional businesses manifest a level of unawareness and inability to adjust to the needs of employees with Long Covid.

Conclusion Aided by the findings of our research project, we illustrate how Long Covid has had a pervasive influence on the health, wellbeing and education and employment prospects of people living with this condition. This paper, by closely examining the Long Covid experiences of adults living in the North East of England sheds new light on the rarely acknowledge issue of Long Covid and its repercussions in the region.

  • Long Covid
  • lived experiences
  • North East of England

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