As a bereavement support volunteer, I am hearing harrowing stories from relatives of those who have died in hospital of Covid-19. Theirs is a complicated grief, exacerbated by having been separated from their loved ones at a time when human contact is imperative.
It’s one thing to imagine myself dying – or recovering – from severe Covid-19 in the comfort of my own home, surrounded by my family; and quite another to contemplate how this could affect them.
Love them or hate them, guidelines are a necessary component of medical practice. And with the arrival of the previously unknown disease of Covid-19, we need guidelines more than ever.
Five years ago, the James Lind Alliance carried out research using their Priority Setting Partnership protocol to identify the most important national concerns about palliative and end-of-life (EOL) care. Top of their list was the question: ‘What are the best ways of providing palliative care outside working hours to avoid crises and help patients stay in their place of choice?’
If I were to come down with severe Covid-19 and choose to stay at home rather than go into hospital, would I benefit from receiving oxygen? Among the many questions surrounding palliative care at home, that’s the one that persistently nags at me.