With the healthcare system currently facing the biggest challenge our generation has ever seen due to COVID-19 – what does this mean for patients living with long-term conditions such as Iron deficiency Anaemia and Cancer who require regular check-ups?
As things stand, the NHS are postponing all non-emergency appointments to lessen the workload during this pandemic. However, processes have been put in place, along with extra precautionary safety measures, to ensure patients that need regular testing are still able to get the care they need with minimal risk.
Despite these extra measures, the dangers of coming into contact with a COVID-19 carrier during the travel to and from the hospital, as well as during the visit itself, are an even greater concern for patients with a weakened immune system.
For patients that still need to attend regular appointments, particularly those classed as being ‘vulnerable’, it’s worth being mindful of the following:
Are they well enough?
The first thing patients need to consider before attending their appointment is their current physical health. If they are already under the weather, then their immune system will be weaker than normal. Rescheduling, arranging a remote appointment or even an ambulance escort are options to consider to balance the risk for patients.
Are they educated on best practice?
Whereas the environment of a healthcare facility can be controlled – what patients are exposed to during the commute is often out of any single person’s control. It is essential that individuals are aware of all the dangers and how best to avoid them when leaving the house. As the level of alertness outside of the home changes, much of the advice remains the same:
Avoid touching surfaces
Wherever possible, avoid touching any surfaces outside of the home, it’s impossible to know if someone infected with COVID-19 has recently been in contact with the same surface. If they’re unable to avoid touching a surface, washing their hands as soon as possible is essential, resisting the habit of touching their face until they have done so.
Uphold the 2-meter rule
The COVID-19 virus is airborne, so make sure they know to keep at least a 2-meter distance between themselves and any persons that they don’t live with. This may involve having to cross the road or wait on a driveway until the pathway is clear – but it’s essential that this distance is upheld to reduce the chances of it spreading. Even as public transport services start to reopen, realistically it may not be feasible to maintain this distance in peak times.
Where it would normally be advisable to arrive early for an appointment, the less time waiting in public areas the better. To uphold physical distancing, calling ahead to understand delays or calling through to reception on arrival to reduce times in the waiting room are all advisable.
Washing once home
When returning home, it’s recommended to immediately remove clothing and put all items straight into the washing machine, as they may be contaminated. Once this is done – thoroughly wash hands or if possible, take a shower.
Sufferers of long-term health conditions should be aware of guidance will ensure that they’re still minimising the increased risks that exist while attending routine testing. The best way to avoid these risks, however, is for the patient to be able to remain in the home.
This is where home testing really comes into its own. It gives patients living with life-changing conditions, such as cancer, the greatest level of safety during this pandemic. By implementing a home-testing and monitoring solution as part of their treatment, it’s possible to reduce the volume of hospital visits, and in turn reduce the chance of exposure to infection; whilst still effectively tracking patient’s results.
Not only does home testing support the health of patients, it will also allow the prioritisation of appointments based on the patient’s treatment readiness. The response to medication and the health status of patients can be recorded through this solution and can be used to ensure the most productive and efficient use of hospital resources.
To learn more about home-testing solutions, visit the Entia website: https://www.entia.co/
DISCLAIMER: THIS BLOG DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE
The information on this blog is for informational purposes only. No material on this blog is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.