In 2021 mental health continued to be the area where most Group Income Protection support was required, with 52% of all rehabilitation cases referred to us for this reason for early intervention support and/or rehabilitation support.
However, support for employees with long Covid became the second most common cause of support (13%), followed by musculoskeletal (10%) and cancer (10%) – previously the most common supported conditions behind mental health.
We introduced our specialist long Covid support in the middle of 2020 not long after the pandemic hit the UK. It offers bespoke support to employees depending on the severity of their symptoms – looking at their individual needs on a case-by-case basis. The severity of Long Covid symptoms are often not related to the severity of the initial infection which makes early recognition and intervention even more important
Last year the majority (84%) of employees who received our support for long Covid remained in work or returned to work – and 88% of those who returned to work did so within their policy’s deferred period – most commonly 26 weeks.
Overall, 80% of the employees we supported in 2021 with rehabilitation, whatever the condition, either remained at or returned to work.
Long Covid is the popular name given to Covid-19 symptoms that continue for weeks or months beyond the initial illness. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) defines post Covid-19 syndrome as symptoms that develop during or after an infection consistent with COVID‑19, continue for more than 12 weeks and are not explained by an alternative diagnosis.
Symptoms of long covid have been identified as fatigue, breathlessness or shortness of breath, difficulty sleeping, anxiety and depression, heart palpitations, chest tightness or pain, joint or muscle pain, not being able to think straight or focus (‘brain fog’), change to sense of smell or taste and persistent cough.
Aviva Rehabilitation Department, January – December 2021.