'The body seems to have no life': The experiences and perceptions of fatigue among patients after COVID-19


JOURNAL OF CLINICAL NURSING, 2021 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1111/jocn.16153
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, Abstracts in Social Gerontology, AgeLine, CINAHL, EMBASE, MEDLINE, Psycinfo, Public Affairs Index
  • Keywords: COVID-19, fatigue, pandemic, qualitative research
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


Aims and Objectives This study aimed at determining the perception of fatigue among patients with a history of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Background Fatigue is a long-lasting distressing symptom. It is a multidimensional symptom consisting of several factors, including physiological, psychological, social and environmental. It is vital to examine and understand the perception of fatigue among post-COVID-19 participants. Design A descriptive phenomenological design. Methods The study sample consisted of 14 post-COVID-19 participants that were recruited using criterion sampling. The fatigue levels of the participants were determined using the Chalder Fatigue Scale (CFS), and those with a fatigue score above 12 were interviewed. All the interviews were conducted with a smartphone due to the COVID-19. The COnsolidated criteria for REporting Qualitative research (COREQ) checklist was used. Results The age of the participants varied from 24 to 67 years, with the majority of the participants being female (n = 8). The COVID-19 duration ranged from one to 11 months, and the CFS scores varied between 14 and 33. Four themes emerged following the qualitative data analysis: a new symptom beyond fatigue, fatigue increases dependency in daily life, fatigue impedes sociability and a way to hold on to life's regular rhythms. Conclusions This study concluded that fatigue in post-COVID-19 participants is a new experience that is difficult to define and manage and overwhelmingly affects the physical and social aspects of life. Participants look for new ways to live with fatigue and turn to traditional methods and psychosocial strategies. Relevance to clinical practice This study revealed the miscellaneous aspects of fatigue in post-COVID-19 participants. Nurses should evaluate fatigue with a holistic approach that includes its physical, social, emotional and spiritual aspects. Nurses can play an active role in the management of fatigue, which is a very common symptom in the COVID-19 pandemic.