“Don’t bring weak nursing home residents with corona to the hospital”

A guideline drawn up by Belgium’s geriatricians urges the authorities of nursing homes not to send nursing home residents with coronavirus who are already seriously weakened to hospital.  The guideline states that this equals humane and good care and that would also be the case in times when there is no corona.

The new guideline published by the Belgian association of gerontology and geriatrics says “Don’t bring seriously weakened nursing home residents of whom it is clear that they will not survive a coronavirus infection to hospital.”

Geriatrician Nele Van Den Noortgate of Ghent University Hospital: “From experience in Italy we know that very weak people will certainly die if they are infected.  It is inhumane to take people in a condition like that to an intensive care ward in hospital.”

“It’s all about providing good care, which would also be good care in times without corona.  It means that when people are at the end of their life they are not bungled into an ambulance needlessly with the risk they could die on the way.”

In nursing homes these patients will be surrounded by people they are familiar with, she argues.

“Care workers in nursing homes are a bit like family.  It is more humane to allow very weak elderly corona patients to die in familiar surroundings.  Certainly in times when relatives won’t have an easy time getting to your bedside in a nursing home or hospital.”