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Group-based pulmonary telerehabilitation is feasible, safe, beneficial and well-received in patients who have been hospitalised with COVID-19

Simpson, Andrew J.; Green, Angela; Nettleton, Marion; Hyde, Lucy; Shepherdson, Joanne; Killingback, Clare; Marshall, Phil; Crooks, Michael G.


Angela Green

Marion Nettleton

Lucy Hyde

Joanne Shepherdson


Introduction Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has caused worldwide mass hospitalisation. The need for multidisciplinary post-hospitalisation rehabilitation is becoming increasingly apparent, and telerehabilitation has been endorsed. The aim of study was to investigate the feasibility and efficacy of pulmonary telerehabilitation for COVID-19 survivors. Methods This was a single-centre, mixed-methods, fast-track (wait-list), randomised controlled trial of telerehabilitation for patients who had been hospitalised with COVID-19. 40 patients discharged from two university teaching hospitals in the north of England were recruited. Telerehabilitation consisted of 12 exercise classes, six education events and opportunity for peer support. Patients commenced telerehabilitation 14 days after randomisation in the fast-track group and 56 days after randomisation in the wait-list group. Outcome measures and results Descriptive and statistical improvements were noted in several clinical outcome measures. Exercise capacity increased from a median (interquartile range) 20 (14–24) sit-to-stand repetitions in 1 min at baseline to 25 (24–30) post-telerehabilitation. Breathlessness rated using the Medical Research Council dyspnoea scale changed from 3.5 (3–4) at baseline to 2 (1.5–3) post-telerehabilitation, with additional favourable outcomes noted in respiratory symptoms measured using numerical rating scales and visual analogue scales (VAS). Quality of life measured using the EuroQol VAS improved from 55 (60–70) units at baseline to 70 (55–80) units following telerehabilitation. Improvements in fatigue (modified Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy: Fatigue) and mood (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale – Depression) were also observed. Natural recovery was observed in the wait-list group prior to receiving telerehabilitation; however, improvements were accelerated by early telerehabilitation in the fast-track group. Conclusions We have shown that group-based telerehabilitation is feasible, safe, beneficial and well-received in this population.


Simpson, A. J., Green, A., Nettleton, M., Hyde, L., Shepherdson, J., Killingback, C., …Crooks, M. G. (2023). Group-based pulmonary telerehabilitation is feasible, safe, beneficial and well-received in patients who have been hospitalised with COVID-19. ERJ Open Research, 9(2), Article 00373-2022.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 9, 2022
Online Publication Date Nov 24, 2022
Publication Date Jan 1, 2023
Deposit Date Nov 29, 2022
Publicly Available Date Nov 30, 2022
Journal ERJ Open Research
Electronic ISSN 2312-0541
Publisher European Respiratory Society
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 9
Issue 2
Article Number 00373-2022
Keywords Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
Public URL


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