Research lessons during the COVID-19 pandemic: collecting longitudinal physical and mental health outcomes

LATER-19 Coinvestigator Group

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Participant enrolment, assessment and/or delivery of intervention in many clinical trials during the COVID-19 pandemic were severely impacted by public health measures limiting physical contact. This report describes the lessons learned in completing a repeated measures cohort study involving suspected and confirmed COVID-19 survivors at three sites in Perth, Western Australia. Main body: An observational analysis of the conduct and data completeness results of the LATER-19 trial. People with COVID19 symptoms who were tested between February and November 2020 were recruited. In both those who tested positive and those who tested negative (control group) for COVID19, data on physical function and mental health were collected at two time points up to eight months after COVID19 testing. Recruitment of the controls was targeted from hospital records for comparison, it was balanced for age and sex and for the non-hospitalised group also comorbidities. A sample of 344 participants was recruited: 155 (45.1%) COVID-19 positive. Taking the research design and environmental adaptations into account, we recorded > 90% participant engagement during the trial. Of the 637 planned assessments, objective measures were completed on 602 (94.5%) occasions; 543 (90.2%) were on-site and 59 (9.8%) were remote. A total of 577 (90.6%) mental health/symptoms surveys, 569 (89.3%) 1-min sit-to-stand tests, and 520 (81.6%) handgrip strength tests were completed. Conclusion: The sample size and high completion rate of planned assessments during the LATER-19 trial potentially increases the contextual, groupwise generalisability of the results. The results demonstrate the effectiveness of a simple, rapid, reproducible and adaptable battery of assessments, leveraging telehealth and digital solutions. Trial registration number: Australian and New Zealand Clinical Trial Registration (ANZCTR): ACTRN12621001067864.

Original languageEnglish
Article number14
JournalArchives of Public Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


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