Coronavirus - if you’re affected by a life-limiting illness

 
If you’re living with a life-limiting illness, or a family member or friend is, you may be worried about coronavirus (COVID-19). Some people living with a life-limiting illness may be at higher risk of experiencing more serious complications from coronavirus. We have some general information on this page that you might find helpful.


About coronavirus


You can find the latest information about coronavirus from:
These websites include information about what coronavirus is, what the symptoms are and advice about what you need to do.

Things you might be worried about


You might be concerned about what might happen to someone living with a life-limiting illness if they get coronavirus. You may be thinking about whether any services they access, like help at home or nursing care, will continue. And you may be worried about visiting someone in case you increase their risk of infection. If you’re providing care for a family member or friend, you may be thinking about what will happen to their care if you become ill.

These are all normal things to worry about. It can be hard to think about these things with everything else you might have going on, but hopefully we can arm you with the information you need to keep yourself and your loved ones safe.

How can I avoid catching or spreading coronavirus?


Everyone should follow general advice from the NHS on how to avoid catching or spreading coronavirus. This now includes social distancing and keeping at least 2 metres away from another person.

You should:
  • wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
  • always wash your hands when you get home or into work
  • use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
  • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
  • put used tissues in the bin straight away and wash your hands afterwards
  • do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean
  • only travel on public transport if you need to
  • work from home, if you can
  • use phone, online services, or apps to contact your GP surgery or other NHS services.
It is particularly important to follow this advice carefully if you:
  • are 70 or over, or
  • have a long-term condition, or
  • are pregnant, or
  • have a weakened immune system.
You can find a list of conditions that put people at particular risk of developing serious complications from coronavirus on the GOV.UK website.
The government will soon announce more plans to protect the people who are most at risk of serious complications from coronavirus. This is likely to include some people living with a terminal illness.

What should I do if I have coronavirus symptoms?


The NHS advises that you stay at home if you have coronavirus symptoms, either:
  • a high temperature – you feel hot to touch on your chest or back, or
  • a new, continuous cough – this means you've started coughing repeatedly.
You should follow NHS advice about how long you need to stay at home for and what you need to do. This includes information about who to contact if your condition gets worse.

If you live with other people, they also need to stay at home and follow NHS advice.

If you live with someone who is 70 or over, has a long-term condition, is pregnant or has a weakened immune system, the NHS advises that you try to find somewhere else for them to stay for 14 days. If you have to stay at home together, try to keep away from each other as much as possible, following NHS advice.

Do I need to do anything differently because I have a lfe-limiting illness, or my family member or friend does?


Some people living with a life-limiting illness may be at higher risk of experiencing more serious complications from coronavirus. You can:
  • Take extra care to follow NHS advice on avoiding catching or spreading coronavirus. This now includes reducing your contact with other people.
  • If someone needs to visit (for example, to help with your personal care), ask them to follow NHS advice. This includes washing their hands when they arrive.
  • Check if you can have visitors if you’re staying in a care home, hospice or hospital. Check with your healthcare team or look on the organisation or service’s website. 
  • Make a plan in case your family and friends can’t visit you. Think about who will help with your day-to-day care as well as how you can stay in touch with people. GOV.UK has more information about getting food and medicines and looking after your mental wellbeing. 
  • Listen for further advice on what to do. The government will soon announce more plans to protect the people who are most at risk of serious complications from coronavirus. This is likely to include some people living with a life-limiting illness.
  • If you have symptoms of coronavirus, follow NHS advice on what you should do.