Keele researchers studying impact of long Covid in ethnic minority communities
Researchers at Keele University are part of a new project which will investigate the impact of long Covid on ethnic minority groups in the UK.
Working alongside colleagues from the universities of Westminster, Southampton, and Queen Mary University of London, the researchers aim to reveal the day-to-day experiences of people with persistent effects of the disease. The researchers will explore people’s symptoms, healthcare, wider support and treatment needs, the impact of long Covid on their daily lives, and the challenges they face in accessing support.
The new research is being funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and hosted by the Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust under the NIHR Research for Patient Benefit Programme.
The group aims to raise awareness of the issue of long Covid among ethnic minority communities, especially those of Arab, black and South Asian backgrounds. These seldom-heard groups have been disproportionately affected by acute infections with Covid, including higher death rates, but the rates of long Covid are not considered to be higher among these groups.
The team will conduct one-to-one interviews with people living with long Covid, including those who have not accessed long Covid services, to better understand how they navigate care and support. The team will also explore ways to help people engage with long Covid healthcare approaches that meet the needs of diverse groups, such as by better involving family. The study will seek to understand what broader systems of support, such as religion and traditional healing, are utilised by minority groups for long Covid to inform better management of the condition.
Professor Carolyn Chew-Graham, Professor of General Practice Research at Keele University, said: “It is a privilege to be a co-investigator on this work which builds on work that Dr Tom Kingstone and I conducted back in 2020. It is unknown how people from some ethnic groups are affected by long Covid and this research will help fill that gap in knowledge.”
The researchers aim to better connect people living with long Covid, healthcare professionals and informal support systems and networks to promote culturally appropriate healthcare, and to improve self-management.
Dr Nina Smyth, lead researcher and Reader in Health Psychology at University of Westminster, said: “Healthcare experiences and needs differ between ethnic minority groups, and current long Covid care management is not yet sufficiently informed by the needs of minorities. We need to better understand preferences for care and support to imagine better healthcare and self-management for these groups.”