Information for brain tumour patients from the Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust

If the NHS has identified you, or the person you care for, as someone at risk of severe illness if you catch Coronavirus (COVID-19), this is because you have an underlying disease or health condition that means if you catch the virus, you are more likely to be admitted to hospital than others.

It is recommended you continue treatment and you should attend hospital appointments for your chemotherapy and radiotherapy as planned but at all other times self-isolate.
 
If you, or someone in your household, develop the following symptoms:

  • New continuous cough and/or
  • High temperature (above 37.8°C)
  • New shortness of breath
Do not attend the hospital. Instead, please call the radiotherapy department on 0113 206 7587 between 8am and 6pm Monday to Friday, excluding Bank Holidays. You will be advised on what to do. Outside these times, please call 0113 243 3144 and ask for the Oncology bleep holder.
 
If you are self-isolating because a family member has symptoms of COVID-19 and you are due treatment, please do not attend the hospital and call the radiotherapy department on 0113 206 7587 between 8am and 6pm Monday to Friday, excluding Bank Holidays, for further advice.
 
The safest course of action is for you to stay at home at all times except when you are attending the hospital and avoid all face-to-face contact for at least twelve weeks, except from carers and healthcare workers who you must see as part of your medical care.
 
This will protect you by stopping you from coming into contact with the virus.
 
If you are in touch with friends, family or a support network in your community who can support you to get food and medicine, follow the advice in this letter. If you do not have contacts who can help support you, go to www.gov.uk/coronavirus-extremely-vulnerable or call 0800 0288 327, the Government's dedicated helpline.
 
If, at any point, you think you have developed symptoms of coronavirus, such as a new, continuous cough and/or high temperature (above 37.8°C), please follow the advice above. Do this as soon as you get symptoms.
 
You, or the person you care for, should:

  • Strictly avoid contact with someone who is displaying symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19). These symptoms include high temperature (above 37.8°C) and/or a new continuous cough.
  • Not leave your home.
  • Not attend any gatherings. This includes gatherings of friends and families in private spaces e.g. family homes, weddings and religious services.
  • Not go out for shopping, leisure or travel. When arranging food or medication deliveries, these should be left at the door to minimise contact.
  • Keep in touch using remote technology such as phone, internet and social media.
  • Use telephone or online services to contact your GP or other essential services.
  • Regularly wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds. Ask carers or support workers who visit your home to do the same.
The rest of your household should support you to stay safe and stringently follow guidance on social distancing, reducing their contact outside the home. In your home, you should:
  • Minimise the time you spend with others in shared spaces (kitchen, bathroom and sitting areas) and keep shared spaces well ventilated.
  • Aim to keep 2 metres (3 steps) away from others and encourage them to sleep in a different bed where possible.
  • Use separate towels and, if possible, use a separate bathroom from the rest of the household, or clean the bathroom after every use.
  • Avoid using the kitchen when others are present, take your meals back to your room to eat, where possible, and ensure all the kitchenware is cleaned thoroughly.
 
If the rest of your household are able to follow this guidance, there is no need for them to take the full protective measures to keep you safe.
 
You will still get the medical care you need during this period. We also advise that:

Carers and support workers who come to your home

  • any essential carers or visitors who support you with your everyday needs can continue to visit unless they have any of the symptoms of coronavirus. All visitors should wash their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds on arrival and often.
  • It's also a good idea to speak to your carers about what happens if one of them becomes unwell. If you need help with care but you're not sure who to contact, please visit www.gov.uk/coronavirus-extremely-vulnerable
 
Medicines that you routinely take

The government is helping pharmacies to deliver prescriptions. Prescriptions will continue to cover the same length of time as usual. If you do not currently have your prescriptions collected or delivered, you can arrange this by:

  • Asking someone who can pick up your prescription from the local pharmacy (this is the best option, if possible)
  • Contacting your pharmacy to ask them to help you find a volunteer (who will have been ID checked) or deliver it to you
You may also need to arrange for collection or delivery of hospital specialist medication that is prescribed to you by your hospital care team.
 
Planned GP practice appointments

Wherever possible, GPs will provide care by phone, email or online. But if it's decided you need to be seen, they will contact you to arrange a visit to the surgery or a visit in your home.
 
Planned hospital appointments

It is important that you continue your treatment unless advised otherwise by your doctor. If you have any concerns about continuing your treatment, please discuss this with your consultant or the team looking after you.
 
Support with daily living

Please discuss your daily needs during this period of staying at home with carers, family, friends, neighbours or local community groups to see how they can support you. If you do not have anyone who can help you, please visit www.gov.uk/coronavirus-extremely-vulnerable
 
If you need help from the benefit system visit www.gov.uk/universal-credit 
 
Urgent medical attention

If you have an urgent medical question relating to your existing medical condition, please get in touch directly. Where possible you will be supported by phone or you will be reviewed in the radiotherapy department. If you are unwell out of hours, please call 0113 243 3144 and ask for the Oncology bleep holder.
 
To help the NHS provide you with the best care, if you need to go to hospital as a result of catching coronavirus or because of your treatment, its asked that you prepare a single hospital bag. This should include your emergency contact, a list of the medications you take (including dose and frequency), any information on your planned care appointments and things you would need for an overnight stay (snacks, pyjamas, toothbrush, medication etc.). If you have an advanced care plan, please include that too.
 
Looking after your mental well-being

We understand that this may be a worrying time and you may find staying at home and having limited contact frustrating. At times like these, it can be easy to fall into unhealthy patterns of behaviour, which can make you feel worse. Simple things you can do to stay mentally and physically active during this time include:

  • Look for ideas for exercises to do at home on the NHS website.
  • Spend time doing things you enjoy – reading, cooking and other indoor hobbies.
  • Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, drink enough water, exercise regularly and try to avoid smoking, alcohol and recreational drugs.
  • Try spending time with the windows open to let in fresh air, arranging a space to sit and see a nice view (if possible) and get some natural sunlight. Get out into the garden or sit on your doorstep, if you can, keeping a distance of at least 2 metres from others.
 
You can find additional advice and support from Every Mind Matters and the NHS mental health and wellbeing advice website.
 
Further information on coronavirus, including guidance from Public Health England, can be found on the NHS and Gov.UK websites.
 
List of diseases and conditions considered to be very high risk:

1. Solid organ transplant recipients
2. People with specific cancers:

  • People with cancer who are undergoing active chemotherapy or radical radiotherapy for lung cancer
  • People with cancers of the blood or bone marrow such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma who are at any stage of treatment
  • People having immunotherapy or other continuing antibody treatments for cancer
  • People having other targeted cancer treatments which can affect the immune system, such as protein kinase inhibitors or PARP inhibitors
  • People who have had bone marrow or stem sell transplants in the last 6 month, or who are still taking immunosuppression drugs
3. People with severe respiratory conditions including all cystic fibrosis, severe asthma and severe COPD
4. People with rare diseases and inborn errors of metabolism that significantly increase the risk of infections (such as SCID, homozygous sickle cell)
5. People on immunosuppression therapies sufficient to significantly increase risk of infection


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