Amid concerns that the NHS will be overwhelmed by the demand for intensive care beds and ventilators during the coronavirus outbreak, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) have published guidelines to help doctors and nurses prioritise patients during the pandemic.
The three new NICE guidelines cover patients needing critical care, kidney dialysis and cancer treatment. All of the guidelines say that all patients admitted to hospital should still be assessed as usual for frailty “irrespective of COVID-19 status”.
The guidelines cover decisions about admitting patients to critical care and decisions about treatment. For cancer patients, the risks of the patient not being treated need to be balanced against the risk of them becoming seriously ill through coronavirus due to a weakened immune system. Alternative options mentioned in the guidance include offering treatment at different locations, taking longer breaks between treatments and delivering treatments in different forms.