The “Covid long” support system has allowed patients “a marked improvement”

“I couldn’t even wash my hair, or vacuum. I was out of breath and I had severe muscle pain, says Stéphanie, 35, about the months following her contamination with Covid-19, in September 2020. In addition, I consider that I had a version soft. I was not hospitalized and only had a week of fever and severe fatigue. »

In addition to a “very rapid physical deceleration at such a young age which worries her, the Niçoise notes that she also suffers from memory, concentration and synchronization problems. “These are the points that were the hardest to live with. Especially since at that time, we were not yet talking about “Covid long” and all the medical examinations I did came out good. It was very difficult, you feel like you’re going crazy. »

“It felt good to be understood”

A year and a half later, she feels “on the whole, a marked improvement” in her physical condition. For twelve weeks, she participated in the support program launched by the city of Nice.

“It did me a lot of good. We found ourselves with five other patients and we could discuss what we felt, whether it was our common sequelae or other. It felt good to be understood. And that also motivated me. When we are all together, it creates an emulation. This program gave me physical fitness but also mental strength. The twelve weeks were necessary according to her, just to force herself to play sports. The goal is then to achieve autonomy.

More requests today

The device, a pioneer at the time, is now complete and draws a “positive” assessment of this experience. “We were able to identify a need in relation to the long Covid and respond to it through adapted physical activity sessions”, explains the program coordinator, Charlène Falzon, also in charge of the health sport mission.

“There were two devices, one in the spring of 2021 and one in the fall, with five people per session. We decided to stop it at the end of December because we had no more requests. Today, if we have calls, we do a review session and we redirect the person to an appropriate structure. In total, 44 people, 36 women and 8 men, from 28 to 86 years old, took part.

To other sports services designed for vulnerable audiences

To achieve results, Aurélien Lazzaro, referent of the program, adapted the sessions of sports activities. “We were building a crescendo. The two objectives were to work on endurance and strength, because these were the two physical abilities mainly affected, he explains. And we succeeded! »

He adds: “In addition, I made sure to exercise their memory. The trickiest part, but where we had to be very vigilant, was on the health aspect. Everything was very secure. The public had to have an authorization, we did the sessions with oximeters. »

“Today, we are proud of our work and proud to become resource persons for other professionals,” adds Charlène Falzon. Officials continue to regularly check in with patients.

Nice Acti’santé, which managed long Covid support, is now working on other adapted physical activity projects with other vulnerable groups, such as women victims of domestic violence and people suffering from mental illnesses. “This is the objective of a health sports center, concludes Barbara Prot, municipal councilor in charge of health prevention and health education. We propose an innovative program and then other organizations take over. »

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