Being asked to shield and face disruption to education and work is a difficult challenge, especially when you are having to do so for many months. Last year we worked with stem cell transplant patients to create a snapshot view of patients' experience of treatment and care in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
We found stem cell transplant patients and their families have been some of the most significantly affected groups during the pandemic, and we have outlined the following areas that need to be considered:
- Outpatient appointments are an important part of care for patients. With the move to remote appointments, evaluation is needed to ensure that patients are still able to access all the care they need.
- Patients who are advised to continue shielding by their healthcare team must continue to be supported and receive the protections they need. This includes access to food, medicines and other essential supplies, as well as strong employment rights.
- Improving the mental health and wellbeing of stem cell transplant patients must be a top priority. All patients should have pre- and regular post-transplant assessments of their mental wellbeing. In collaboration with their key worker, they should then have the opportunity to create a personalised care plan.
- It is essential that patients are at the heart of the future health and care system going forward. As the ‘new normal’ develops, and changes are embedded in the NHS, this must take into account patient views and the patient perspective, including the circumstances of a diverse range of patients. This is essential to avoid the implementation of changes which may work for the healthcare system or individual Trusts, but not for the patient.
You can read our full ‘Stem Cell Transplants and COVID-19' report here