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Physiotherapy after Corona

Physiotherapy for recovery after coronavirus (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 are not admitted to the hospital, supervision by a physiotherapist may be necessary, because you have been inactive for a long time.
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Physiotherapy after Intensive Care (PICS)

If you have been seriously ill by the coronavirus, you have to receive intensive rehabilitation after your hospital and/or ICU admission. This often happens initially in a rehabilitation center, but you will also have to work on your recovery for a long time in the period after that. If you have been ventilated for a long time in the Intensive Care Unit, you might very well be experiencing several complaints. This combination of specific complaints after an ICU admission is called Post-Intensive Care Syndrome. The longer you have been asleep at the IC, the more serious your PICS complaints are. Previously existing complaints partly determine the severity of your PICS complaints The recovery of PICS can take over several months to years, requiring proper guidance from a specialized physiotherapist, occupational therapist, dietician and others.

Complaints related to IC admission

Lung function problems\Pulmonary fibrosis (reduced functioning of the lung tissue)

– Decreased lung capacity
– Decreased strength of breathing muscles
– Weakness of the muscles due to prolonged non-movement or polyneuropathy

Decreased stamina

Pain and/or stiffness of the joints

General feeling of tiredness

Problems with activities of daily life (ADL) like:
– eating, including taking medicines
– drinking
– getting in and out of bed, sitting down in chairs and getting up again
– moving, walking
– relaxation
– meaningful activity (hobbies, sports)
– dressing and undressing
– talking
– hearing
– urinating
– defecation
– regulating body heat (e.g. being able to raise/lower the heating, choosing thin or thick clothing)
– physical hygiene
– traveling


Problems with the memory, concentration, dealing with stimuli

Depression and/or anxiety

Post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSS)


In most cases, the physical therapy treatment after an Intensive Care admission is long-term. This can vary from a few months to over a year. During the entire treatment process, we are in contact with your treating physician (this may be a general practitioner, medical specialist or rehabilitation physician). We also work in close contact with other disciplines, including occupational therapists, dieticians, speech therapists, psychologists and social workers.


During the intake we will examine all you could encounter after the hospitalization with you and your family . These could be physical, but also psychological complaints. Because of the wide variety of consequences after an Intensive Care admission, each patient is given an individual approach. We focus on you as a patient and work according to the model of positive health.

In addition to an extensive intake interview, a number of measurements and tests are also carried out. We examine:

  • Experienced health
  • Muscle strength
  • Condition (Endurance)
  • ADL function
  • Power of breathing muscles

Based on the intake and the scores of the various tests, we prepare a personal rehabilitation program for you personally.

Treatment features

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

  • Muscles: Training strength
  • ADL: Functional training and balance training
  • Condition: Endurance training
  • Strength of breathing muscles: Training breathing muscles

You will receive treatments 2 to 5 times a week. Depending on your specific situation, these take place at your home or in our practice.

Physiotherapy without IC admission

Many people catching Corona are simply recovering at home or being hospitalized for a short period of time only to receive extra oxygen. But also then you could experience one of the physical complaints mentioned above, without having been admitted to the Intensive Care Unit. In that case treatment by the physiotherapist may also be necessary.


REACH stands for “REhabilitation After Critical Illness and Hospital Discharge” and is a research project initiated by Amsterdam UMC and the Hogeschool van Amsterdam. Physiotherapy Douma and Ergotherapie Gooi en Omstreken have been actively involved in the REACH network since its establishment in 2018. 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 the specific complex problems of patients after being admitted to an Intensive Care Unit.

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