Long-term complications for COVID-19 patients could place a strain on the healthcare system, says GlobalData

Long-term complications arising in COVID-19 patients after recovering from the initial illness are expected to increase healthcare costs in the long-term. Complications such as stroke, intensive care unit delirium, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), lung and heart damage and neurological issues may see a rise, as well as the development of long-term lung damage and fibrosis caused by acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), which also affect other organs such as the heart, kidneys, and brain. Leading data and analytics company GlobalData notes that treatments for lung damage similar to COPD are likely to see an increase due to COVID-19 patients.

Johanna Swanson, Product Manager at GlobalData, comments: “COVID-19 has a higher risk for long-lasting neurological impairments in patients such as a possible 7.5-fold risk of ischemic stroke, which can have long-term recovery healthcare costs. This also places a burden on hospitals, as now stroke patients must be evaluated for COVID-19 and proper disinfecting protocols must be obeyed. In addition, this increases the number of younger COVID-19 stroke patients, who will have possibly higher long-term care costs.

“Patients requiring intensive care unit treatment may be at increased risk for developing mental health issues such as ICU delirium, PTSD, anxiety and depression. Ventilated COVID-19 patients may experience ICU delirium and GlobalData notes that public health agencies will need to continue to address and treat these issues long after the pandemic is under control, which will increase long-term mental healthcare costs.”

High levels of unemployment in the US have meant significant numbers of people losing their coverage, which can lead to further stress over healthcare costs and uncertainty for their healthcare going forward. Health insurers are facing uncertainty about the costs of the pandemic and the rates they will need to charge.

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