All post-transplant patients at Royal Papworth Hospital who are due to have an outpatient appointment in the next few weeks will be contacted personally by a member of the transplant nursing or admin team in the coming days. Please do not just turn up to the hospital.
When you are contacted, you will be advised as to whether your appointment will still be at the hospital or if it will take place remotely via telephone.
We are receiving an increased number of calls from patients and will attempt to answer some of the common questions below. If you still have a question and would like to contact the team, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
What can I do to keep myself safe?
Am I at increased risk?
What should I do if I feel unwell?
What should I do if I think I have been in contact with someone with COVID-19?
Should I self-isolate or work from home?
What should I do if I have a holiday planned?
If someone at my child's school gets coronavirus should I keep my child off as well?
Will I still be able to access my medicines / do I need to stockpile?
How you can help...
Patients who have undergone transplant should follow national guidance as below in order to help prevent spread of the virus:
You should share this advice with friends and family. You can access latest updates from the NHS coronavirus website.
There is no specific data on the relative risk of COVID-19 in patients who have had a heart or lung transplant. Patients with chronic heart or lung disease are known to be at increased risk of developing severe illness. It seems reasonable to consider that all patients who have had a transplant will be at increased risk of severe infection especially if they have established graft damage that has occurred since transplant. Patients requiring oxygen or NIV will most likely be at highest risk.
There is no evidence that wearing a face mask will protect patients from acquiring COVID-19, but if they have a cough then wearing the mask may protect others, so this is a reasonable approach if you have symptoms.
It is extremely important that you do not go directly to your transplant centre unless specifically advised to do so by a member of the transplant team.
The symptoms of COVID-19 are the same as many other problems in patients who have had a transplant which can make it difficult to decide the best course of action. You should monitor your symptoms closely, increased vigilance with spirometry is recommended. Please contact the transplant team if you do not have a functioning home spirometry device.
If you develop fever, cough or difficulty breathing you should call the transplant team on 01223 638007. If you are generally well, with no drop-in spirometry, it is likely we will ask you to call NHS 111 for access to local COVID-19 testing. If you are unwell, you may be asked to attend either your local hospital or Royal Papworth Hospital. If you are advised to come to Royal Papworth Hospital, please stay in your car and call the transplant clinic nurses on 07775 587395 or 01223 638007to advise them that you have arrived.
Do not enter the hospital without first making contact with the transplant team.
If there is clinical concern based on your history, a member of staff will come to meet you with protective clothing for you to wear and will direct you to the most appropriate place immediately. Please continue to follow advice regarding social distancing and handwashing stringently.
If you have been in contact with someone who has a confirmed case of COVID-19, you should self-isolate as per Public Health England guidance and let your clinical team know so that they can monitor you closely. If you start having symptoms call 111 and let your transplant team know.
Social distancing is highly advisable. Please see the latest Public Health England advice on social distancing for vulnerable people.
The current situation with regards COVID-19 is evolving rapidly. Specific advice with regards risk can be found at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website.
Deciding to travel in this current climate is difficult and highly personal. All but essential travel should be avoided. If travel is essential, please take out appropriate travel insurance and see first point.
The latest government advice dictates that children should be kept at home, where possible, and schools will only remain open for those children who absolutely need to attend. If your child is still going to school and a transplant recipient or their family are concerned about the risks associated with catching COVID-19 infection, they should discuss these with their transplant team. For people that have significant and established chest disease, it is difficult to quantify the risk and other measures may be appropriate if agreed with your transplant team.
We are working closely with our NHS partners (e.g. Homecare) to make sure we continue to have enough supplies of medicines for our patients. If you are currently receiving medicines such as anti-rejection medication from Homecare, this will continue. The main change people may experience is that drivers may not ask for a signature and may stay a safe distance away from patients by setting the parcel down and then walking away and watching for recipient to pick up the parcel. No medicines will be left unattended.
As usual, make sure you have enough ‘buffer stock’ by keeping at least two to four weeks’ worth of your medicines at all times, and requesting repeat prescriptions or homecare deliveries well in advance of this supply running out. That will give your pharmacy or homecare provider enough time to deal with any shortages should they arise.
It’s important to note that this is standard practice for our patients and not new advice.
If you are experiencing any difficulty getting hold of a supply of your medicines, or if you have any concerns about their availability, please let the transplant continuing care team know as soon as possible by emailing email@example.com.