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Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center Celebrates One-Year Anniversary of Post-COVID-19 Support Group

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Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center Celebrates One-Year Anniversary of Post-COVID-19 Support Group

Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center (PVHMC) is celebrating the one-year anniversary of its Post-COVID-19 Support Group. Over the past year, the program has served more than 100 people who have experienced prolonged COVID-19 symptoms that persisted for months after their infection.

Since 2021, the hospital’s pulmonary, cardiac rehabilitation, and physical therapy services have treated post-COVID patients for acute and chronic physical ailments that occur and linger long after recovery from COVID-19. Commonly known as “long COVID,” the multitude of symptoms can affect almost every aspect of life and make resuming previous activities harder than expected. As many as 10% to 30% of people who contract COVID-19 develop long COVID.

PVHMC’s post-COVID-19 support group offers interactive workshops where participants learn to cope with the overwhelming emotions of depression, anxiety, and feelings of isolation brought on by “brain fog” memory issues, difficulty eating and drinking, speech and language problems, and heart and lung issue often experienced by those with long COVID.

The weekly workshops are led by Elizabeth Preston, MAT, a certified practitioner in creative journaling. As an experienced facilitator, Preston’s successful “self-care through self-expression” approach provides new life tools to help combat the emotional anguish often associated with long COVID.

“Long COVID manifests in many different ways among the participants we serve, and it’s a difficult condition to define,” says Elizabeth Preston. “Each person has a unique story to share, and the group offers a sense of validation and belonging for those who are experiencing the frustration of this syndrome.”

During sessions, participants learn breathing techniques and ways of self-expression, respond to writing prompts, and have an opportunity to share their stories – all of which are designed to reduce tension and teach relaxation techniques.

Support group member Stacy Collins from Rancho Cucamonga is a human resources professional who contracted COVID-19 in December 2020. Months after her COVID-19 diagnosis, Collins began to experience brain fog, a lack of focus, and forgetting things that she normally wouldn’t. She was shocked to learn that she was experiencing symptoms of long COVID. Collins had to put her career on pause. She was referred to the Post-COVID-19 Recovery Program at PVHMC for physical therapy and later joined the support group. She’s now a weekly participant in the support group.

“It was so important to me to be supported by other people in the group who have had similar experiences,” says Collins. “We empower each other, we share resources, we share our struggles, and we help each other find supportive care. It’s important to know that you have someone to talk to when you’re having a bad day.”

The support group’s efforts have not gone unnoticed by the community it serves. The Mayor and City Council of Pomona honored the support group with a certificate of recognition for the work it’s doing to help long-COVID sufferers. A Recognition of Service to the Community from State Senator Anthony J. Portantino was also presented to the group.

“The support group is a collaboration among multiple hospital departments that really made the program possible,” Preston added. “PVHMC’s Rehabilitation Services, Information Technology and many others worked together to make the group a viable option of continuing care for those still affected by the ripple effects of the pandemic.”

The PVHMC Post-COVID-19 support group meets weekly in person and offers the ability to attend via Zoom. Access to the support group is open to the general public and requires a referral from a physician with the diagnosis of “Long-COVID” and a one-time screening evaluation in the PVHMC Rehabilitation Services Department to participate.

“The group has served people of many ages, some who have had to take a devastating break from their normal lives or have lost the ability to work due to their persistent long COVID symptoms,” says Preston. “The support group has provided many of the participants with information that’s helped them gain social services and emotional support that’s carried them through difficult times.”

To learn more about the Post-COVID-19 Support Group, or to schedule your screening evaluation, call: 909-865-9810 or visit: