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. Tell them they can get help and advice from charities (such as the British Lung Foundation, Action for Pulmonary Fibrosis, Pulmonary Fibrosis Trust and Sarcoidosis UK), support groups (including NHS Volunteer Responders) and UK government guidance on the mental health and wellbeing aspects of COVID-19.
1.2 Many patients with interstitial lung disease will have received a letter telling them they are at high risk of severe illness from COVID‑19. Advise them or their carers:
that their level of risk may change as a result of advice from their primary care team, specialists or changes in government guidance.
1.3 Discuss with patients who have been advised to shield whether the benefit of them attending services outweighs the risks.
1.4 Advise patients that if they think they have COVID‑19 they should use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service (if in England), or call NHS 111. In an emergency they should call 999 if they are seriously ill. They should also talk to their hospital specialist team for advice about managing their symptoms and treatment.
1.5 Minimise face-to-face contact by:
using telephone, video or email consultations whenever possible, following the NHS England clinical guide for the management of remote consultations and remote working in secondary care during the coronavirus pandemic
cutting non-essential face-to-face appointments
making multidisciplinary meetings virtual
contacting patients via text message as well as telephone or email if patients are happy to do that
using electronic prescriptions rather than paper
using different methods to deliver prescriptions and medicines, for example, pharmacy deliveries, postal services, NHS Volunteer Responders or drive-through pick-up points for medicines.
1.6 Advise patients to keep a list of the medicines they take, and the conditions and any allergies they have, as well as a copy of a recent clinic letter, to give to healthcare staff if they need treatment for COVID‑19.
1.7 Find out if people have advance care plans or advance decisions to refuse treatment, including do not attempt resuscitation decisions. Document this clearly and take account of this in planning care.
1.8 Consider asking local specialist palliative care teams for advice if needed.