Caring for someone who is dying at home from Covid-19


Bevan Commissioner and palliative care expert Baroness Ilora Finlay has produced a guide to help people who are caring for relatives who are dying at home from Covid 19 (coronavirus).

The guide, which is aimed at both the public and health and social care professionals, provides day to day practical information as well as advice issued by Baroness Finlay to talk to terminally ill people about their wishes if they were to become critically ill with the Covid 19 infection.

In an interview on BBC Wales Politics Wales programme, the Professor of Palliative Medicine at Cardiff University, said that people should consider what treatment they would want if they fell ill and discuss this with their families.

“We have to think now: ‘What are the things that really matter to us?’ What are the conversations we should have with those we love, now – not tomorrow or the day after – and what do we need to tell them?” she told the programme.

“Perhaps we have strong views. Perhaps if you’re already frail and become ill with this virus, you might feel you don’t want to go into hospital and be put on a ventilator.

“You must let people know now so that things can be put in place for you. Those conversations are difficult for everybody. They’re never easy. We all live thinking it won’t happen to us. But you have to think it might.”

Following this interview, Baroness Finlay has put together practical guidance that looks at what to do if it’s absolutely clear and recorded in a person’s clinical record that he or she does not wish to be transferred to a hospital.

The guidance includes advice for healthcare professionals to support the person providing the care, guidance on how to treat symptoms and look after day to day needs, and what to do after a person has died.

Baroness Finlay stresses the importance of people asking others for support during this distressing time.

She said, “This is a terribly difficult time. As a relative or friend, particularly if you have already had Covid-19, you may prefer to take on this responsibility than be isolated away from the person who is dying. You will need the support of family or friends, either in person (if social distancing allows) or remotely through these difficult final stages. People are often glad to be asked to help.”

The guidance is available to read and download from the Bevan Commission website here

You can read more about Baroness Finlay’s interview with BBC Wales here and watch her on Politics Wales here