Back to life: Is it possible to be myself again? A qualitative study with persons initially hospitalised due to COVID-19

J Rehabil Med. 2022 Sep 9:54:jrm00327. doi: 10.2340/jrm.v54.2742.


Objective: To gain a deeper understanding of the lived experiences of patients with COVID-19, regarding rehabilitation, work and social life 6 months after hospital discharge.

Design: An explorative qualitative study with individual interviews.

Subjects: Patients of working age with persistent self-reported symptoms at a 3-month follow-up who had received inpatient hospital care with discharge approximately 6 months previously were purposively sampled.

Methods: Semi-structured interviews were performed with 10 men and 5 women. The interviews were transcribed verbatim and analysed with inductive thematic analysis.

Results: Four themes were identified: "Social support - crucial, but decreased over time", "Varying needs of, and access to, rehabilitation", "Returning to work after COVID-19 - crucial for future prospects" and "An overwhelming experience that essentially changed one's personality".

Conclusion: Rehabilitation provided participants with the valuable tools for recovery, giving them hope for future recovery. Support from next of kin was highly valued, creating stronger family bonds. A new meaning and greater appreciation of life was expressed.

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Patient Discharge
  • Qualitative Research
  • Social Support