Physiotherapy for recovery after COVID-19

An infection with the Coronavirus (COVID-19) can have a significant impact on your health. It is important to start physiotherapy as soon as possible after hospitalization. Even if you have not been admitted to hospital, guidance by a physiotherapist may be necessary because you have been inactive for a long time.

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Even if you have not been admitted to hospital, guidance by a physiotherapist may be necessary because you have been inactive for a long time.

Physiotherapy after Intensive Care (PICS)

If you have been seriously ill due to the coronavirus, you must also receive intensive rehabilitation after your hospital and/or IC admission. This often happens initially in a rehabilitation center, but you also have to work on your recovery afterwards for a long perion of time.

If you are on the ventilator in the Intensive Care Unit for a long perion of time, its very probable that you will experience several complaints. This combination of specific complaints after an ICU admission is called the Post-Intensive Care Syndrome (PICS).

The longer you are kept asleep in the ICU, the more serious your PICS complaints can be. Pre-existing complaints also determine the seriousness of your PICS complaints.

Recovery from PICS can take months to years, requiring proper guidance from, among others, a specialized physiotherapist, occupational therapist and possibly a dietician.

  • Lung Function Problems
  • Pulmonary fibrosis (less functioning of the lung tissue)
  • Decreased lung capacity
  • Decreased respiratory muscle strength
  • Weakness of the muscles due to prolonged inactivity or a polyneuropathy
  • Decreased stamina
  • Pain and/or stiffness in the joints
  • General feeling of fatigue
  • Difficulty performing daily activities (ADL)
  • eating, including taking medicines
  • drinking
  • getting in and out of bed, sitting down on chairs and getting up again
  • moving, walking
  • relaxation
  • meaningful activity (hobby, sport)
  • dressing and undressing
  • talking
  • hearing
  • urination
  • defecation
  • regulating body heat (e.g. being able to raise/lower the stove, choose thin or thick clothing)
  • physical hygiene
  • traveling
  • Malnutrition
  • Problems with memory, concentration, coping with stimuli
  • Depression and/or anxiety
  • Post-traumatic stress dysfunction (PTSD)


The physiotherapeutic treatment after an Intensive Care admission is in most cases long-term. This can vary from a few months to more than a year. During the entire treatment process, we are in contact with your attending physician (this can be a general practitioner, a medical specialist from the hospital or a rehabilitation physician).

We also work closely together with other disciplines, such as an occupational therapist, dietician, speech therapist, psychologist and social worker.


Together with you and your family, we are going to sort out all the problems you encounter after hospitalization. These can be physical as well as psychological complaints. Because of the wide variety of consequences after an Intensive Care admission, each patient receives an individual approach.

We will focus on you as a patient and will work according to the model of positive health.

In addition to an extensive intake interview, a number of measurements and tests are also performed. Such as:

  • Experienced health
  • muscle strength
  • Fitness (Endurance)
  • ADL function
  • Respiratory muscle strength

Based on the intake interview and the scores of the various tests, we draw up a tailor-made rehabilitation program for you.

Treatment features

Depending on the problems you encounter, the treatment consists of (a combination of):

  • Muscles: strength training
  • ADL: Functional and Balance Training
  • Condition: Endurance training
  • Respiratory muscle strength: Respiratory muscle training

You will receive between 2 and 5 treatments per week. Depending on your specific situation, these take place at your home or in our practice.

Physiotherapy without IC admission

Many people who get Corona can simply recover at home or are only hospitalized for a short period of time to get extra oxygen. You can also experience one of the above physical complaints without being admitted to the Intensive Care Unit. Even then, treatment by a physiotherapist may be necessary.


Physiotherapy Douma and Ergotherapie Gooi en Omstreken have been actively involved in the REACH network since its foundation in 2018. REACH stands for ‘REhabilitation After Critical illness and Hospital discharge’ and is a research project initiated by Amsterdam UMC and the Hogeschool van Amsterdam. REACH includes a regional network of first and second line professionals involved in the rehabilitation of complex patients after hospitalization.

Our physiotherapists and occupational therapists are trained and specialized in specific complex problems in patients after intensive care (ICU) admission.