1 Communicating with patients and minimising risk

1 Communicating with patients and minimising risk

1.1 Communicate with patients, their families and carers, and support their mental wellbeing to help alleviate any anxiety they may have about COVID‑19. Signpost to sources of information (such as Kidney Care UK coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance for patients with kidney disease, the National Kidney Federation coronavirus (COVID-19) information and advice for patients and local kidney patient organisations), support groups (including NHS Volunteer Responders) and UK government guidance on the mental health and wellbeing aspects of COVID-19.

1.2 Some patients will have received a letter telling them they are at high risk of severe illness from COVID‑19. Tell them:

1.3 Telephone, email or text patients booked for a nephrology appointment. Tell them:

1.4 Minimise face-to-face contact by:

  • using telephone, video or email consultations whenever possible

  • cutting non-essential face-to-face appointments

  • contacting patients via text message, telephone or email

  • using electronic prescriptions rather than paper

  • using different methods to deliver prescriptions and medicines, for example, pharmacy deliveries, postal services or NHS Volunteer Responders, or introducing drive-through pick-up points for medicines.

1.5 Tell patients that they should contact the NHS 111 online coronavirus service if they think they have COVID‑19. They should also contact their renal team (if they have one) for advice. In an emergency, they should call 999.

1.6 If patients need to attend face-to-face appointments or for blood tests, ask them to help reduce the risk of contracting or spreading COVID‑19 by:

  • following relevant parts of government advice on social distancing (this differs across the UK)

  • coming to the appointment alone

  • having only 1 person accompany them if they cannot come alone

  • avoiding public transport if possible; if they must use public transport, suggest they wear a face covering.

1.7 Use local services for blood tests where possible.

1.8 Minimise time in the waiting area by:

  • careful scheduling

  • encouraging patients not to arrive early

  • texting or phoning patients when you are ready to see them, so that they can wait outside, for example, in their car

  • providing a 'clean route' through the hospital or clinic

  • delivering treatment promptly

  • ensuring prescriptions are dispensed rapidly.