17 April, 2020
This rapid NICE guideline (NG164) is designed to maximise the safety of patients who require haemopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) as well as protecting staff and making the best use of NHS should services become limited due to COVID-19.
NG164 recognises the importance of communicating with patients to support their mental wellbeing during the pandemic and to help alleviate any anxieties or concerns that they might have about COVID-19. Patients requiring HSCT are likely to be immunosuppressed and clinics are required by the guidance to introduce measures to help minimise the potential for contracting or spreading COVID-19.
As an example, NG164 directs that healthcare staff minimise face-to-face patient contact and have telephone or video consultations. Non-essential follow-ups should be minimised and greater use made of home delivery services for medicines, or drive-through medicine pick-up points and that clinics coordinate access to blood tests for post-transplant investigations.
For essential clinic appointments, clinics are advised to ask patients to attend alone if possible and if not, with no more than one family member or carer. Patient wait times should be minimised through careful scheduling and patients discouraged from attending too early and to remain in their transport vehicle until sent a text message that they are ready to be seen at the clinic.
Patients known or suspected of having COVID-19
NG164 advises all staff (including those involved in receiving, assessing and caring) working with suspected or infected patients