Working together to look after the dead, dying and bereaved in Powys
25 March 2020
During these unprecedented times it is vital that we also continue to offer the highest standards of care at the end of life.
The impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) is already having a significant impact for communities and public services, and it is vital that everyone plays their part by:
- Staying at Home
- Protecting the NHS
- Saving Lives
Alongside these important measures for all of us, Powys Teaching Health Board and Powys County Council are working together with voluntary and community partners to put in place additional support for the dead, dying and bereaved in Powys
Alison Davies, Director of Nursing and Midwifery, Powys Teaching Health Board said: "Many people are being advised to self-isolate, to shield themselves to reduce their risk of serious illness, and to stay home to reduce the spread of this infection. We recognise that this will have a profound impact on the contact people are able to have with their loved ones at a difficult time. It will also mean temporary changes to the arrangements following a death, including funerals."
"Some of the steps we are taking include:
- reviewing our treatment and escalation plans for appropriate patients
- continuing to work with patients and families to discuss their advance care plans and their wishes for end of life care
- finding ways to provide services by telephone or online, and
- providing information for carers of patients with Coronavirus (COVID-19) who may be being cared for at home, including some symptom control guidance.
"We are updating our 'My Life, My Wishes' advance care planning document in light of the outbreak. We are also working with partners including CRUSE and PAVO to improve the support for people dealing with loss and grief in these difficult circumstances. This includes providing information to prepare people for the ways in which the funeral process may need to change in the current difficult times.
"We hope that through these steps we will be able to address some of the anxieties that we know people will have about supporting their loved ones during Coronavirus (COVID-19)."
Carl Cooper, Chief Executive Officer of Powys Association of Voluntary Organisations, said: "We join the UK Government's call for everyone to help prevent the spread of infection is clear. We should only leave the house for one of four reasons:
- shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible
- one form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle - alone or with members of our household
- any medical need, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person
- travelling to and from work, but only where this absolutely cannot be done from home
"These four reasons are exceptions - even when doing these activities, we should be minimising time spent outside of the home and ensuring we are 2 metres apart from anyone outside of our household.
"These measures must be followed by everyone. Separate advice is also available for individuals or households who are isolating, and for the most vulnerable who need to be shielded."
"The role of community and voluntary organisations is even more vital at times like this. The response of the people in Powys has been tremendous, and PAVO is working with partners to strengthen the support available to local people through community networks, our community connectors, and the COVID19 Powys Health & Care Volunteers we are recruiting & placing to support statutory services in the county."
Alison Bulman, Corporate Director (Children & Adults), Powys County Council, said: "We encourage everyone to stay at home, protect the health and care system, and save lives. We all have a role to play in reducing the spread of infection, and helping to make sure that public services can support us.
"But this is a moment of national emergency, and this also means that we need to take additional action to prepare for the challenges we may face in future. For this reason we have taken the decision to put in place additional temporary mortuary facilities in Llanelwedd. This means that we can be confident that we have capacity in place to provide dignity in death.
"Our shared ambition must be that we do not need to use them. This means that everyone must play their part by staying home and saving lives."