Today (Monday 15 June) The Office for National Statistics published an analysis of clinically extremely vulnerable people (the shielding population) in England during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, including their behaviours and mental and physical wellbeing. Patients who have received, and are in need of, stem cell transplants fall into this category.
The survey, which showed that 2.2 million people were advised to shield, revealed that over a third (35%) of people report a worsening in their mental health since receiving shielding guidance.
Anthony Nolan’s recent poll also highlighted a number of mental health concerns, especially around anxiety while shielding. In response the charity launched a new, permanent, service Telephone Emotional Support, provided by Working to Wellbeing. Through a series of appointments, stem cell transplant patients will be able to talk about whatever is on their mind – from feelings they may be experiencing while in isolation or concerns they may be having about the future or their treatment.
Henny Braund, Chief Executive of Anthony Nolan says: ‘Today’s news shows how important it is that support for patients’ mental health is taken into consideration as the shielding guidance continues to evolve. Patients have talked about the toll of shielding on their mental health with Anthony Nolan’s Patient Services team. In response we have been working with NHS leaders and clinicians and have also set up the Anthony Nolan Telephone Emotional Support service for patients provided by Working to Wellbeing.’
Anthony Nolan will continue to work with and share the experiences of patients to support other patients, and families, during and after the pandemic.