Physios' long Covid research wins £1.1m funding

A physio project to design and evaluate a package of self-management support for patients with long Covid has been awarded £1.1million of National Institute for Health Research funding.

Lond Covid

The physio-led long Covid Personalised Self-managemenT support - co-design and EvaluatioN (LISTEN) project is among a £19.6million package of NIHR-funded research aimed at helping improve understanding of the condition, from diagnosis and treatment through to rehabilitation and recovery.

LISTEN is led by Professor of Rehabilitation Research Fiona Jones, at the Faculty of Health Social Care and Education, St George’s University of London and Kingston University, and Professor Monica Busse, Director of Mind, Brain and Neuroscience Trials at Cardiff University.

In recognition that each person with long Covid can experience markedly different symptoms, the LISTEN project will work in partnership with individuals to design and evaluate a package of self-management support that can be tailored to individual needs.

The researchers will first work with people living with or recovered from long Covid, plus a social enterprise with expertise in reaching seldom heard populations, to co-design the package and associated patient and training resources.

The team will then test the self-management package alongside up to six one-to-one virtual coaching sessions from trained rehabilitation practitioners. This clinical trial will evaluate whether the treatment improves how people with long Covid feel and how they cope with everyday activities. The researchers will also evaluate how the package could be implemented more widely, with the aim that self-management for people with long Covid can be delivered at scale.

Professor Monica Busse said: ‘We are keen to hear from any community rehabilitation teams (initially across Wales, London and East of England) who are interested in being involved in the clinical trial. CSP members are encouraged to contact us for more information about being a research site. You can reach us by email at’

Professor Jones said: ‘This study is important because people with long Covid have told us they want access to healthcare professionals that believe them, understand their symptoms and will work alongside them to manage their recovery.

LISTEN will aim to do what it says, providing space, time and personalised self-management support from rehabilitation professionals with enhanced understanding of the condition.

'This isn’t about a fix or cure for long Covid but it’s about evaluating the benefit of authentic and tailored personalised care.’

Recent research shows that as many as a third of people who report being infected with the coronavirus also report long Covid. The condition can present with a number of ongoing symptoms including fatigue, breathlessness and cognitive impairment known as ‘brain fog’.

NIHR’s long Covid themed review, which considered over 300 papers and academic opinion pieces from across the world, indicated that long Covid could be up to four syndromes: post-ICU syndrome; long-term organ damage; post-viral syndrome, and, potentially, an entirely novel syndrome that could more specifically be identified as ‘long Covid’

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