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What support is available at home for someone with COVID-19?

Often, home is the most appropriate place to care for someone with COVID-19.

If you have attended the hospital or called the COVID-19 assessment centre and the decision has been made that you can be best cared for in your own home, the staff will check that there is someone (a friend or close family member or paid staff) able to look after you at home.   If there is no-one at home to help, you will be cared for in hospital, or an alternative place of care will be arranged.

The healthcare staff involved will liaise with your GP/district nurse, to ensure that they know of your situation. 

When at home, you will be in the care of your local GP, district nurse and community health and social care professionals.

The support of a member of family, close friend or neighbour will also be important.  Providing care or to help to a vulnerable person is classed by the UK Government as one of the acceptable reasons to leave your own home. More information to support carers is available here: NHS Inform advice for unpaid carers providing personal care

Recovering at home

Most people with COVID-19 recover. Your GP/district nurse should be able to discuss with you any concerns you have, and what support is available for you at home.

Dying at home

Sometimes home is the most appropriate place to care for someone with COVID-19 even if they are seriously ill and may not recover.

There is currently no cure for COVID-19 either at home or in hospital, but good medication is available that can be taken at home, and this can enable you to stay comfortable and pain free, for example by reducing anxiety and breathlessness.

Your GP is able to prescribe medication (often known as ‘just in case medication’) to help ease your symptoms, and this might include oxygen, antibiotics or other medicines. Medicines can be given by tablet, liquid, patch and injection at home, and depending on where you live, it may be that a family member can be trained to deliver these themselves.

NHS and social care services are very busy, so it may be that actual home visits from a doctor, nurse or paid carer are extremely limited. Your local community NHS services should be able to discuss with you what they are able to offer and how to contact them if you need them. Support available could include community nursing support to regularly assess symptoms and relieve suffering, visits from specialists, and visits from carers to help with matters such as getting up, dressing, toileting, eating and giving medications.

There are also things that family and friends can also provide comfort and support - more information about this is available here: information for family/friends supporting someone who might die at home.

Photo by Julián Gentilezza on Unsplash

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