Researchers at University College London (UCL) have created a decision-making guide for dementia carers to ensure their relatives receive sufficient care and support if they catch COVID-19.
A quarter of COVID-19 deaths have been people living with dementia who often lack the capacity to make their own care choices.
The guide, supported by end of life care charity Marie Curie, Alzheimer’s Society and Dementia UK, is a free downloadable document that helps carers work through situations, medical and legal jargon so they can make informed decisions quickly under stressful circumstances when separated from their relative with dementia and COVID-19.
“A large number of people with dementia reside in care homes and due to restrictions to visiting, carers may have to make decisions without being able to see the person they are caring for. Our document will guide carers through the process of making these difficult decisions whilst taking into consideration wishes and preferences of the person living with dementia and the legal aspects of making decisions” says co-lead researcher Dr Nathan Davies, senior research fellow at Centre for Ageing Population Studies at UCL.
He adds: “This includes how to care for them if they are unable to visit them, whether they should go to hospital if they become unwell and what it means to have a do not attempt cardiopulmonary resuscitation order”.
The researchers hope the guide will ease the emotional burden that families can experience and reduce feelings of uncertainty when making decisions for their loved ones, as well as providing useful tips for carers such as COVID-19 symptoms which may differ to the commonly recognised symptoms.