Let’s go through this in stages, because while Coronavirus is a deadly virus, most people won’t need to visit the hospital and even those that do can recover.
If your condition worsens
So, you’ve been treating yourself at home, but things start getting worse, now it’s time to go to 111 online, or dial 111, if you do not have internet access.
If you are seriously ill, you should dial 999.
On the 111 call they may direct you back to your GP who will then have a further remote consultation with you.
You may be asked to attend a Hot or Red Hub. Most of these are in GP surgeries, but there will be some tented ones around the county.
You’ll be told exactly where to go and what to do when you get there.
When you go, we would suggest taking a hospital bag, just in case, although please note it is anticipated that most patients will be able to manage at home after a few simple checks.
A hospital bag should contain:
- Toilet bag including a toothbrush, face wipes
- A list of your medication
- Your mobile phone AND a mobile phone charger
- A written/typed list of in case of emergency numbers
- An advanced directive, if you have one
- A favourite book
- A picture of your loved ones
We recommend a picture, because you may not be able to see your relatives, because of visiting restrictions in place at all hospitals.
Admissions to Hospital
If you are asked to go to hospital, then listen carefully to where you need to go. There is likely to be a special department and entrance.
You may be required to put on a mask, when you arrive.
To reduce the spread of Coronavirus, you won’t be able to have someone with you. The only exception to this is children who may have one parent or carer with them.
What if I don’t want to go into hospital?
Patients can recover in hospital and NHS staff will do everything they can to help, but in some cases, you, or your loved one may not want to go to hospital. This might be through fears about symptoms, being alone, or even dying without your family around you.
We understand that this is a really difficult decision to make.
“My elderly mum lives with us and she’s certain she doesn’t want to go to hospital on her own. And she definitely made it clear that she doesn’t want to go on a ventilator. She’s told us that she wants to stay at home with the family she loves and be cared for here. It probably won’t ever happen, but we know what medical care she would and wouldn’t want.”
Here are some facts on how to treat Coronavirus at home.
Hospice UK has also put together this guide to help support those who are caring for someone who is dying at home from Coronavirus.
Preparing for the worst
Unfortunately not everyone will successfully fight off Coronavirus. This is an awful virus and it can be deadly.
This is a film about the difficult conversations we’re having with our relatives already:
यदि आप या आपके प्रियजन गंभीर रूप से अस्वस्थ हो जाते हैं तो इसके लिए तैयार रहें
اگر آپ یا آپ کے پیارے بیمار ہوجاتے ہیں تو کس طرح تیاری کریں
We think its only right you know the discussions we’re having with our friends and family, because you may want to have them with your loved ones too. These conversations are emotional and difficult, but there are some really good online resources to help you with this.
My Future Care: How to create an Advance Care Plan, to advise about your views and preferences.
Marie Curie has a special page called: Talking to someone about dying, including why it’s so important and how you can start the conversation.
There’s also a website called My Decisions, which is a way for you to plan ahead for your future treatment and care. It’s a step-by-step site to help you record your wishes.
If the worst should happen, then remember there is a lot of support out there. Keep your friends and family close and keep contact with them via phone or video streaming.
There’s bereavement support available from the Cruse charity.
And you can also contact the Cruse Bereavement charity via telephone: 0808 808 1677
Another source of support is the Bereavement Advice Centre. They also have a telephone number: 0800 634 9494
The Irish Hospice Foundation has put together lists about how you can support yourself and also others when grieving.
How we’re preparing and how we’re speaking to our families
“I’m a 45 year old doctor and have no underlying health issues but I want to be prepared. In case the worst happens. I’ve rewritten my will, just in case. As a single mum, I’ve asked friends to be on stand by to look after my son, if I am unwell and I need to go to hospital.
I’ve explained what I would want to happen if I became very unwell and needed intensive care treatment and I’ve also written down exactly what I want to happen if I die, right down to the music I playing want playing at my funeral.
I’ve done this not out of fear, but out of kindness. It’s unlikely that I will have problems if I catch covid19, but I do not want to take any chances. Much better to have had the conversations and taken time to write things down now I am well, than risk no one knowing what I wanted, or having to make quick decisions when really unwell. I wanted to be in control, so I took control back. Now everyone knows what I want should the worst happen and I fell better for it.
Case Study – Dr Susie Bayley
My parents are fit, well and active and aged 68 and 71. They go the gym regularly and play golf and can nearly keep up with the grandchildren.
However, they are aware how rapidly this virus can attack. We’ve had conversations over the last few weeks about Coronavirus and felt a real need to prepare them. We’ve done this by ensuring they have things like hospital bags packed and ready to go just in case; to discussing how we make decisions about their care were they to deteriorate.
We’ve chatted through practical issues like wills and power of attorney to the emotional: what is most important to them. This wont be a one off discussion. As coronavirus progresses we’ll discuss further and fine tune each others’ understanding of end of life care decisions.Dr Susie Bayley
Case Study – Dr Gail Allsopp
My mum is in her late 60’s and my dad in his 70’s. They are both shielding due to underlying health conditions. I’ve spoken to them both, and slowly they have begun to open up about what they would want should the worst happen and they get complications from Covid19.
Neither have advanced care directives and both want full active treatment, but they have both updated their will.
They are aware that despite wanting full active treatment, if they needed a ventilator, their severe underlying illnesses, mean they are unlikely to be offered one. That’s not because they’re old, but because their health problems mean the likelihood of them ever getting off the ventilator and having a good quality of life is small.Dr Gail Allsopp
I hope we never get to the time that this decision has to be made but at least I know what they want now, should the worst happen, and that’s important.
If you are worried about any of the subjects on this page, please check out our “Dealing With Stress and Anxiety” links for advice and information, including a 24-hour mental health support line.