Disabil Rehabil - (-) 1-10 [2023-04-20; online 2023-04-20]
To describe physical functioning after severe COVID-19-infection. An explanatory sequential mixed method design was used. Thirty-nine participants performed tests and answered questionnaires measuring physical functioning six months after hospitalisation due to COVID-19. Thirty of these participants participated in semi-structured interviews with questions regarding how they perceived their physical functioning and recovery from COVID-19 at 12 months post-hospitalisation. At six months, physical functioning measured via chair stand test and hip-worn accelerometers was lower than normal reference values. There was a reduction in breathing muscle strength. Participants estimated their functional status during different activities as lower compared to those before COVID-19-infection, measured with a patient-specific functional scale. At one year after infection, there were descriptions of a rough recovery process and remaining symptoms. Patients recovering from severe COVID-19 seem to have reduced physical functioning and activity levels, and they perceive their recovery to be slow and difficult. They experienced a lack of clinical support and contradictory advice regarding rehabilitation. Coaching in returning to physical functioning after the infection needs to be better co-ordinated and there is a need for guidelines for health professionals to avoid patients receiving contradictory advice.