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What are the stages of recovery?

This resource will be continuously updated as evidence and guidelines emerge. Information was correct at time of publishing. Date Updated: 22/11/2022

Who treats COVID-19?



Those who require urgent acute services will be referred into a hospital health care e.g., severe hypoxaemia or oxygen desaturation on exercise, signs of severe lung disease, cardiac chest pain or multisystem inflammatory syndrome (in children).

Those people whose signs and symptoms rule out acute or life-threatening complications could be sent for assessment to relevant specialists. Other tests may include blood tests, x-rays and exercise tolerance tests.

“Red flags” needing urgent attention from health care professionals

There are certain medical complications that can arise while recovering from COVID-19 that need an urgent medical review. It’s important to contact a health care professional if you experience any “red flag” symptoms:

  • you become very short of breath with minimal activity that does not improve with any of the positions for easing breathlessness
  • there is a change in how breathless you are at rest that does not get better by using the breathing control techniques;
  • you experience chest pain, racing of the heartbeat or dizziness in certain positions or during exercise or activity;
  • your confusion is getting worse or you have difficulty speaking or understanding speech;
  • you have new weakness in your face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body; and/or
  • your anxiety or mood worsens, or you have thoughts of harming yourself.
  • If you experience other symptoms that are concerning, you should seek the attention of a health care professional.



There are a number of ways that you can support yourself in your recovery from COVID-19. You may find some of the links below are useful resources  to help you self manage.

It’s important you seek help if you are struggling to return to your baseline or you are experiencing breathlessness, palpitations or dizziness or if you think you may have Post Exertional Symptom Exacerbation (PESE).



For people who are experiencing Long COVID they may be referred to a team of healthcare providers to treat the different factors affecting the individual. For example:

GP: If you do not require urgent care then often the GP is the first step in accessing help. They can conduct a patient assessment and map a pathway for potential tests, treatments or appropriate onward referral.

Physiotherapy: click here for a guide to what help physios can provide

Mental Health Supports (Counselling/psycho-therapy, psychology or psychiatry): can help those suffering with anxiety, depression, or symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) associated with experiencing Long COVID.

Occupational Therapy: helps people with health challenges participate in daily life to the fullest. OTs help you return to the life that you love.

We’d also like to acknowledge our colleagues in Dietetics, Speech and Language Therapy, Radiology, Sleep & Respiratory Diagnostics and Cardiac Diagnostics who all have a large role in both treatment and assessment.

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