Physical function and fatigue recovery at 6 months after hospitalization for COVID-19

Evelyn S. Qin, Laura S. Gold, Namrata Singh, Katherine D. Wysham, Catherine L. Hough, Payal B. Patel, Aaron E. Bunnell, James S. Andrews

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: There are an increasing number of individuals with long-term symptoms of coronavirus-19 disease (COVID-19); however, the prognosis for recovery of physical function and fatigue after COVID-19 is uncertain. Objective: To report the changes in functional recovery between 1 and 6 months after hospitalization of adults hospitalized for COVID-19 and explore the baseline factors associated with physical function recovery. Design: A prospective cohort study. Setting: Tertiary care hospital. Participants: U.S. adult COVID-19 survivors. Intervention: N/A. Main Outcome Measures: Telephone interviews assessed three outcome domains: basic and instrumental activities of daily living (ADLs) performance, fatigue, and general physical function (Health Assessment Questionnaire [HAQ]). Results: The age of participants (n = 92) ranged from 22 to 95 years (54.3 ± 17.2). Across outcome domains, a majority (63%–67%) of participants developed new ADL impairment, fatigue, or worsening HAQ severity by 1 month. Of those, 50%–79% partially or fully recovered by 6 months, but 21%–50% did not recover at least partially. Fifteen to 30% developed new impairment between 1 and 6 months. For those without any improvement in ADL impairments at 6 months, lower socioeconomic status was significantly more common (p =.01) and age ≥ 65 (p =.06), trending toward being more common. Conclusion: In this cohort, a substantial proportion of the participants who developed new ADL impairment, worsening fatigue, or HAQ severity after hospitalization for COVID-19 did not recover at least partially by 6 months after discharge. Evaluating functional status 1 month after discharge may be important in understanding functional prognosis and recovery after hospitalization for COVID-19.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPM and R
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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