As COVID-19 survivors’ battles persist, Atlantic Health System on Oct. 9 said it launched the Atlantic COVID Recovery Center, a multidisciplinary program based in Cedar Knolls and Summit to help this growing patient population recover.
The center provides a central point for patients to seek care, working with health care providers to design an individualized, tailored plan for recovery to guide them to medical specialists who help carry it out.
In the nearly seven months since COVID-19 arose throughout communities in New Jersey, many survivors of the virus are now finding recovery to be elusive. Informally known among the medical community as “long-haulers,” the challenge of figuring out how to manage these conditions has introduced another dimension to this pandemic.
Whether their initial infections were severe or mild, many patients experience a wide-ranging combination of persistent conditions – such as fatigue, difficulty breathing, and joint and chest pain. Each patient can have a different combination of conditions, many of which have lasted far beyond the course of traditional illness—some of them for months, now.
“These patients are each having a unique and unprecedented experience, for which there is no one, singular roadmap,” said Dr. Fred Cerrone of Pulmonary and Allergy Associates, part of Atlantic Health System’s Atlantic Medical Group. “Many of them can end up feeling as though they are going through this alone.”
“By putting together a team of specialists from throughout our network, we can seamlessly connect and navigate these patients to the care they need, and work to help speed their recovery,” said Dr. Scott Lauter, chief medical officer for Atlantic Medical Group.
A patient care coordinator, who will also coordinate all follow-up care and arrange referrals or authorizations for testing, will guide patients to the appropriate specialist within the network. The care coordinator will also ensure patients have their follow-ups and relay any additional notes to health care providers.
“It can be challenging enough for the average patient to find their way to the right provider for just one condition; that challenge grows exponentially more frustrating when you’re dealing with several at once,” said Dr. David Sousa, also of Pulmonary and Allergy Associates, the offices of which will serve as triage locations for the Recovery Center. “These patients truly need an approach that is holistic and individualized.”
For more information click here or contact the Atlantic COVID Recovery Center at 908-522-3361.