Case Study: Long COVID Training
Active Lincolnshire have co-created a training guide for providers of physical activity to support people with long COVID to recover and manage their condition. The course was developed with Lincolnshire NHS and community voluntary organisations including Shine Lincolnshire and Every-One, as part of a of a wider project, funded by NHS Charities Together, and forming part of the Let's Move Lincolnshire strategy, to ensure Lincolnshire’s physical activity and sport sector are able to provide positive experiences and accessible opportunities for Lincolnshire residents, of all ages, with Long Covid.
The practical online training course contains videos and guidance for providers that allows them to support people with long COVID to regain their confidence and ability to undertake everyday things, including being physically active.
We spoke to Beth Goodman, Leisure Officer at South Kesteven District Council, about why she decided to do the training and the impact it has had on her work. In her role at SKDC Beth works towards their five year sport and physical activity strategy which aims to get people in the district more active. She also works part time as a class instructor.
"I decided to do the training as from personal experience more and more people are talking about Long COVID, and whilst I had a very basic understanding about what it is from the media around it, I wanted to gain a better understanding of how it's actually affecting people and what we can do to support people.
I know there's a lot of physical activity opportunities out there to help people, but I think some people can be put off from accessing them. People with health conditions need to know how activity can actually help their condition, as there is a misconception that it will have a negative effect which stops them from being active. I feel that as part of my job, I've got an essential role to help individuals and make sure they've got the correct opportunities available to them. But I need the right knowledge to implement the right opportunities.
After doing the training, I’ve got a better understanding of how long COVID is affecting individuals. When talking with people living with long COVID, I feel I have the knowledge to say that there are things that can help you and physical activity is one of them. The training has opened my eyes to the physical and mental effects of long COVID and the impact it can have. People that have been physically active find, all of a sudden they can't do much, which must be frustrating.
This training has made me think about making sure we're making activity sessions more accessible and using the customer journey tool. I'd like to push the training out to leisure providers in the district to make sure we are implementing the customer journey within all our centres and give everybody who works there an understanding of long COVID.
One thing I've done is to be more considerate regarding the environment activities take place in and considering the challenges and barriers people living with long COVID face. Making small adaptations, like changing the class to incorporate more breaks and stuff like that without verbally saying I'm doing it for this particular reason is an easy way to make classes more accessible. Because some people don't want to be called out on long term health conditions or that they're living with long COVID, but you can just subtly make those adaptations to cater for them.
We've also adapted how we promote community activity sessions at SKDC; we have a session targeted to people with Long Term Health Conditions taking place at the moment, we've adapted the promotion for the activity sessions to be more specific and mention long COVID, as well as other health conditions, such as arthritis, because people might not consider themselves as having a 'long term health condition'.
I would recommend the training, not just for physical activity providers, but for professionals working to support people's physical or mental health."
Find out more about the Long COVID online course, and sign up on our Courses page.