Darren A Brown, Kelly K O’Brien

Summary box

  • Long COVID presents multidimensional clusters of symptoms that can fluctuate, sometimes unpredictably, with symptoms negatively affecting general well-being and the ability to perform daily activities, exercise, or work.

  • We propose that Long COVID be conceptualized as an episodic illness, characterized by health-related challenges (or disability) that can be multidimensional, episodic, and unpredictable in nature.

  • Dimensions of disability experienced by people living with Long COVID may include physical, cognitive, mental and emotional health, daily activities, social inclusion and uncertainty, with uncertainty and worry for the future being a key dimension of disability.

  • The role of rehabilitation is important for people living with Long COVID, providing a goal-oriented, person-centered approach to preventing, mitigating and treating episodic disability.

  • Future directions include establishing valid and reliable measures of episodic disability, evaluating the effectiveness of rehabilitation approaches and interventions, and strengthening existing international collaborations and community partnerships to advance practice, research and policy.

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