Caring for someone dying with COVID-19 at home
This page has information to support you if you are caring for someone who is dying from COVID-19 at home.
Deciding to stay at home
You might care for someone at home when they have COVID-19 if:
- You have already had COVID-19 or are fully vaccinated, and prefer to care for them rather than be isolated away from the person who is dying
- The person you are caring for wants to remain at home, and there is a written record of this decision such as an advance care plan or if you live in Scotland, an advance directive
If the person you’re caring for lacks the mental capacity to decide where they want to be cared for, they can remain at home if:
- There is a previously written advance care plan or advance directive stating they wish to remain at home
- They previously appointed someone under Lasting Powers of Attorney to make decisions on their behalf, and that person decided it is in their best interests to be cared for at home
Caring for someone at home with COVID-19
Caring for someone at home can be rewarding, but can also be very difficult. COVID-19 adds an additional challenge if you need to self-isolate. For the latest advice on self-isolating and restrictions visit our page on COVID-19 guidance.
To help limit the spread of infection you should not invite people to visit your home, including friends and family. Instead use the phone, email, video calling or social media.
It’s important to consider your ability and that of the other people living in your household to take on the emotional and physical responsibility of care.
There is support available to help you as a carer, including NHS health and care staff, social care agencies, hospices, and other charities. Services have gradually been resuming as COVID-19 restrictions ease, so check to see what is available where you live:
- England: NHS: Coronavirus
- Northern Ireland: Public Health Agency: COVID-19
- Scotland: NHS Inform: Coronavirus
- Wales: Public Health Wales
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic most local authority areas in the UK have volunteers who can collect medicines, shopping or other essential items on behalf of people who are self-isolating. You can find the contact details of local volunteers on the COVID Mutual Aid website.
There is also advice on our website about caring for someone dying at home, visit Caring for someone at home
Protecting your household from COVID-19
People who live in the same household as someone with COVID-19 are at higher risk of developing the illness. They could spread the infection to others even if they don’t have any symptoms. To reduce the chances of spreading infection within your household, do the following:
- Try to observe social distancing as much as possible by asking people in your household not to enter the room of the person with COVID-19. Avoid using shared spaces while they are present. If possible, leave meals outside their bedroom door for them to collect.
- Clean all frequently touched surfaces, such as door handles and remote controls, and shared areas such as kitchens and bathrooms everyday, using disinfectant or bleach.
- Ask everyone to wash their hands regularly for 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser.
- Make sure the person who is unwell has separate towels
- Use disposable tissues to wipe away phlegm if the person sneezes or coughs and dispose of them straight away in the rubbish
- Keep the household well-ventilated by opening windows and doors as much as possible, and keeping your extractor fan on for longer than usual
Read our guide, written by Vice President Baroness Finlay of Llandaff, with more information and advice.