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Coronavirus: Doctors given new guidelines on choosing which patients to treat in critical care

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New guidelines have been published to help doctors and nurses decide how to prioritise patients during the coronavirus pandemic.

The advice from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) was produced amid concerns that the NHS would be overwhelmed by the demand for intensive care beds and ventilators.

The three new NICE guidelines, which have been drawn up within a week rather than the usual timescale of up to two years, cover patients needing critical care, kidney dialysis and cancer treatment.

They say all patients admitted to hospital should still be assessed as usual for frailty “irrespective of Covid-19 status”.

Decisions about admitting patients to critical care should consider how likely they are to recover, taking into account the likelihood of recovery “to an outcome that is acceptable to them”.

Doctors are advised to discuss possible “do not resuscitate” decisions with adults who are assessed as having increased frailty, such as those who need help with outside activities or are dependent for personal care.

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Source: Independent, 22 March 2020

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