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. 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:

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:

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.