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What will happen to someone living in a care home who gets COVID-19?

Without testing it is not possible to know whether someone has COVID-19, or another illness.  However, if you present symptoms that could be COVID-19, measures will be taken to ensure you come into minimum contact with other people, including Care Home Staff and the people who usually visit you.  You may be isolated in your own room, or in a room with others who have COVID-19.

Care home staff will continue to look after you, but will have to take precautions (such as wearing face masks and other protective gear) to protect their own health. The Care Home should seek the support of your GP and the local healthcare team to ensure they have access to any medications or treatments that could help you.

Will I get the same treatment as people who live in their own homes? Will I get taken to hospital if I get COVID-19?

Most people who live in care homes are there because they need a lot of support, usually because they are very frail or have one or more underlying health conditions.  Most of the treatments available for COVID-19 in hospital will be ineffective for people who are already very frail or who have certain underlying health conditions. However, each case should be considered individually, and the decision about whether or not someone will be taken to hospital should be made on the basis of a person’s individual circumstances.   

Where it is clear that intensive treatment in hospital for COVID-19 won’t give someone an increased chance of recovery, it is generally easier to keep someone comfortable in the place where they usually live.  Therefore, many people who live in care homes will be supported to stay in the care home, even if they become critically ill.   This also applies to people who are already frail/unwell but who live in their own homes – efforts will be made to support those people in their own homes, even if they become critically ill.     

However, the Care Home staff will be able to seek support from your GP and the local healthcare team if needed.  They will be able to access medications (for example that ease common symptoms like anxiety and breathlessness) that can be administered within the Care Home to keep you as comfortable as possible if you get extremely ill.  

Can I choose to stay in the care home, and not go to hospital?

If you don’t want to go to hospital, make this clear to a member of staff, and ask for your preferences to be recorded in an Anticipatory Care Plan.  There is further information here: Anticipatory Care Planning

Planning ahead  

If you live in a Care Home, you may want to talk to family and staff about your wishes, and how you can stay in touch with your family and friends. There is further information here: Anticipatory Care Planning

Photo by Jade Stephens on Unsplash

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