Coronavirus - information and advice for people who may become very ill and their families and friends
This is an especially difficult time for people who may need end of life care and for their loved ones.
What you can do now
Talk to each other
People may want to talk to family members about their wishes and plans in advance. This might include financial arrangements. This will be helpful so you know what is important to your loved one who is ill, or who is at risk of becoming very ill and might not get better. Some people may choose to stay at home and receive care there.
Information you may find useful:
- Making choices about what care you might want if you develop COVID-19 (coronavirus)
- Information on writing a will
- The Compassion in Dying website
Make a plan
It is important to be prepared in case you or a loved one contracts COVID-19 and becomes seriously ill. This is especially important if you or someone close to you is in a higher risk group (people with serious underlying medical conditions and older people).
During a pandemic, medical decisions might need to be taken very quickly. Thinking about different situations which may arise is better for you, your loved ones and helps the medical professionals looking after you to provide the care you want.
Some specific treatments and interventions will not work for people who have complex underlying health problems, or when people are very frail or sick. It is important that you discuss with a health professional what treatments might be available and how they can help you.
There may also be some interventions and care options which you are not aware of, but which could greatly improve your quality of life (e.g. palliative care). Speak to a health professional to learn what might be available for you
Your doctor or community nurse may talk to you about the future and what your wishes and options might be to help you think about future treatment and care. This is known as Advance Care Planning.
Visiting restrictions in hospitals, hospices and care homes
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there are visiting restrictions in place at hospitals to prevent the virus spreading. You can find out more about the restrictions in place on visiting someone in a Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust hospital.
You should agree how you and your family will keep in touch with someone if they go into hospital. If they do go to hospital, you can make sure the hospital knows the best person to contact so that you can continue to be involved in their care.
If restrictions mean that you cannot visit, if possible, give someone who is ill a phone or laptop to stay in touch.
You must not visit a person receiving end of life care at a hospital, care home, hospice or in their own home if you have tested positive for Covid-19 or if you have been told to self-isolate.
Getting the right help if someone is very ill and not getting better
If your loved one is very ill and not getting better despite medical care, there is advice and support available.
What you can do
- Find out more about palliative care and COVID-19
- Get information about looking after someone who is dying
- Information about palliative care in Sandwell and West Birmingham
Caring for someone who is very ill at home
If you are caring for someone who is very ill or dying at home there are things you can do to help them feel comfortable, from helping with their pain to moving them in bed. Here is a link to useful advice and guidance about this.
More information you may find useful
During the global COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, we are facing a tragic loss of life, often under very difficult circumstances.
People who have been bereaved may experience additional and deeper emotions because of the restrictions in place due to COVID-19. Family and friends they would turn to and usual support networks may not be accessible.
Attending a funeral
If someone becomes very ill and dies, loved ones need to be aware of how arrangements have now changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
To reduce the spread of the virus, funerals are now limited and smaller numbers of people are able to attend. This will be a difficult time for anyone who is grieving for a loved one and these new arrangements may make things feel especially hard.
Sandwell Council’s crematoria at Sandwell Valley and Rowley Regis can offer free webcasting so people who cannot attend can watch the funeral online. You will also be able to consider holding a memorial service once the current situation is over.
Information you may find useful
- Information about funerals in Sandwell
- Government guidance on funerals and Covid-19
- Advice from Cruse Bereavement Care
- Advice from the National Association of Funeral Directors
Coping with bereavement and supporting someone else going through bereavement
After someone dies, especially in the current circumstances, you may need extra support.
What you can do
- Get some support or counselling. Contact Cruse Bereavement Care in Sandwell.
- Get advice about supporting children through bereavement
- Get advice about supporting young people through bereavement
Information you may find useful
- Information on talking to someone you know after someone has died
- Advice on supporting a grieving friend
Spiritual and pastoral support
At a time when we face a crisis in our lives, many people who do not regularly attend a place of worship seek to make sense of what is happening, through prayer, reflection, and by receiving the spiritual and pastoral support from an appropriate person of faith.
This is particularly true during the current COVID-19 pandemic where physical distancing adds to the sense of isolation. Most places of worship, of all faiths, have a website, which contains their contact details. Most have a social media presence and many are live-streaming their services and other points of connection.