COVID-19 resources

Coronavirus has changed the way we work so it’s important to recognise the importance of good end of life care, even though the ways we're working may be different.

The coronavirus outbreak is arguably one of the greatest public health challenges of our time – not least for general practice. This resource hub has been created to support healthcare professionals who have palliative and end of life patients at the time of the pandemic. Topics are updated as new and helpful resources are published and made available.

COVID-19 and Palliative and End of Life in Secondary Care

This guidance is aimed at all professionals supporting patients with COVID-19, and their families, in a hospital/inpatient setting.

The COVID-19 outbreak is unprecedented and requires everyone to work together to contribute to the health and well-being of populations as well as ensure that appropriate guidance and sharing of good practice occurs. This is essential in order to support the care of patients at the end of their lives or who are significantly unwell as the result of both COVID-19 or other life-limiting illnesses.

This guidance, which is been prepared for secondary care initially and is not intended to be comprehensive, has been prepared and collated locally by the Northern Care Alliance NHS Group and the Association for Palliative Medicine of Great Britain and Ireland.

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COVID-19 Prescribing
Communicating while wearing PPE

Communicating with patients and those around them is harder when you’re wearing personal protective equipment (PPE), but there are things you can do to make it better:

  • If you’re caring for a patient at home, you could show your face to them before you enter their house, for example, through a window.
  • Wear a badge or sticker with your name clearly written. This may be especially helpful if the patient is seeing lots of different healthcare professionals.
  • Show them a video or picture of yourself when you’re not wearing PPE.
  • If someone doesn’t speak English as their first language, you could try learning some phrases in their language.

When you go in, think about ways you could communicate with them through your body language. Consider:

  • Are you making eye contact with them?
  • What’s your body language like – does it seem open and friendly?
  • What’s your facial expression like? Even if your face is covered by a mask, it’s sometimes possible to tell whether you are smiling.

It’s worth taking a moment to think about your body language and how you may be coming across to the patient.

Patients with certain conditions may find it difficult to communicate verbally. Find out what works for the patient, and if they already have systems for communicating.

Supporting informal carers during the pandemic

This document – authored by Dr Morag Farquhar (University of East Anglia), Dr Gail Ewing and Professor Gunn Grande (both University of Manchester) on behalf of the NIHR ARC Palliative and End of Life Care theme – lists topics that might have to be addressed when discussing COVID-19 with the carers of very ill patients in the community.

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