Background: Healthcare is witnessing a new disease with the emergence of Long Covid; a condition which can result in myriad symptoms, varying in frequency and severity. As new data are emerging to help inform treatment guidelines, the perspectives of those living with Long Covid are essential in informing healthcare practice. The research aimed to collect the narratives of people living with Long Covid to better understand the lived experience of this condition. In attempting to narrate complex or traumatic experiences the arts and humanities can offer alternative ways of expressing embodied narratives, representing rich sources of meaning. Therefore, the research specifically sought to elicit creative expressions from participants with lived experience of Long Covid. Methods: Data were collected via an online repository where participants could submit their pieces of creative writing. Data were collected between August 2021 and January 2022 and a total of 28 submissions were received from participants. These were mostly written creative narratives. However, a small number were submitted as audio or video files of spoken word poetry or songs. Data collection was stopped once data saturation was achieved. Results: The submissions were subjected to thematic analysis and five themes were generated. These five themes are Identity, social relationships, symptoms, interaction with healthcare systemsand time. The results provide an insight into the experience of Long Covid as detailed by the participants' creative narratives. Conclusion: The results from this study provide a unique insight into the lived experience of Long Covid. In relation to clinical practice, the results suggest that adjustment reaction and loss of sense of self could be added as common symptoms. Patient and Public Contribution: Before undertaking the research, Long Covid community groups were contacted to discuss the potential value of this study and it was widely supported. One of the leading Long Covid support groups was also involved in disseminating information regarding the project. As part of ongoing work within this project, members of the team are actively disseminating the results within Long Covid communities and seeking to develop arts-based workshops specifically for people with Long Covid.
Pearson, M., Allsopp, G., Bartel, H., Singh, P., & Crawford, P. (2022). Creative Long Covid: A qualitative exploration of the experience of Long Covid through the medium of creative narratives. Health Expectations, 25(6), 2950-2959. https://doi.org/10.1111/hex.13602