To compare the effects of a home-based pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) program with and without telecoaching on health-related outcomes in COVID-19 survivors.
A total of 42 COVID-19 patients who completed medical treatment were randomly divided into two groups: the study (telecoaching) group (n = 21) and the control (no telecoaching) group (n = 21). Both groups participated in an 8-week home-based PR program including education, breathing exercises, strength training, and regular walking. The study group received phone calls from a physiotherapist once a week. Both groups of patients were assessed before and after the program by means of the following: pulmonary function tests; the modified Medical Research Council dyspnea scale; the six-minute walk test; extremity muscle strength measurement; the Saint George’s Respiratory Questionnaire (to assess disease-related quality of life); the Medical Outcomes Study 36-item Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36, to assess overall quality of life); and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale.
In both groups, there were significant improvements in the following: FVC; the six-minute walk distance; right and left deltoid muscle strength; Saint George’s Respiratory Questionnaire activity domain, impact domain, and total scores; and SF-36 social functioning, role-physical, role-emotional, and bodily pain domain scores (p < 0.05). Decreases in daily-life dyspnea, exertional dyspnea, and exertional fatigue were significant in the study group (p < 0.05), and the improvement in SF-36 social functioning domain scores was greater in the study group (p < 0.05).
A home-based PR program with telecoaching increases social functioning and decreases daily-life dyspnea, exertional dyspnea, and exertional fatigue in COVID-19 survivors in comparison with a home-based PR program without telecoaching.
COVID-19; Exercise; Telerehabilitation; Dyspnea; Fatigue