What if I contract COVID-19 and need to be admitted to hospital?
Clinical guidance around the treatment of COVID-19 is clear; a diagnosis of a neuromuscular condition should not be a determining factor in the care that you receive if you contract COVID-19 and require hospital admission. In other words, if you have a neuromuscular condition, that should not be the deciding factor in whether or not you will be able to access critical care.
We know that intensive treatment unit (ITU) services are setting up careful arrangements so that it’s a small group of senior clinicians, and not just one person, who makes any decisions about access to scarce treatment resources. They will make decisions about treatment based on the likelihood of successful outcome. The default position will be preservation of life based on an assessment of someone’s prognosis with COVID-19, and not the diagnosed condition they are living with.
It is essential that you make decisions about the care you receive with your family. It’s also advisable you have the contact details of your specialist neuromuscular team readily accessible and your condition alert card or care plan that you can share with health professionals; this will ensure the decision-makers have a full understanding of your condition.
In addition, NHS guidance recommends the following:
To help the NHS provide you with the best care if you need to go to hospital as a result of contracting coronavirus, the NHS asks that you prepare a single hospital bag. This should include your emergency contact, a list of the medications you take (including dose and frequency), any information on your planned care appointments and things you would need for an overnight stay (snacks, pyjamas, toothbrush, medication and so on). If you have an advanced care plan, please include that.
What if I need to be admitted to hospital for a non-COVID-19 reason during the current pandemic?
At this time, we all know NHS emergency resources will be stretched further than we have known in any of our lifetimes. But we also know NHS Trusts have created separate A&E areas (for COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 related cases) to reduce the risk of cross-infection, and services will still be available.