Help us to help keep you safe during the COVID-19 pandemic

Your hospital clinical teams, HEN providers and the national NHS bodies are working closely together to ensure your service continues with minimal disruption throughout this challenging period. This information has been prepared to reassure you and help you understand what measures have been, or are being, put in place by your hospital clinical teams and homecare providers to protect you and continue to provide a safe service. The government is urging everyone to pull together and there are things that you, and your family, can do to help as well, which we have included below.

Over the next few months it is anticipated that the pressure on the NHS and the HEN providers will peak to an unprecedented level. As it is not possible to know how the situation will develop, the NHS and HEN providers are planning for a number of potential situations.

How can you protect yourself and help the NHS during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Enteral feed supply deliveries

You may have been informed by your HEN provider or healthcare professionals, about changes to how you receive your enteral feed supplies. Here are some further tips to help you manage during the COVID-19 period:

  • It remains important that you have an adequate supply of the enteral feed and ancillaries to continue your normal enteral feeding plan.
  • Make sure you organise or have your delivery when you have seven days’ enteral feed and ancillaries remaining to allow for any delays in your delivery getting to you.
  • Complete accurate monthly stock checks. If you have too much stock, please consider asking for less at your next delivery.
  • The HEN provider driver may have been advised that they are no longer able to bring your enteral feed and ancillaries into your home. If this is the case, we suggest the following steps:
    • If able to bring the supplies in yourself. Only lift the supplies that you able to. If the boxes are too heavy, unpack them at the door and take items in gradually.
    • If you are unable to bring in the supplies yourself and there is another person in the household to do it, it may be necessary for you to ask a close family member, reliable friend or neighbour who has not had COVID 19 symptoms in the previous seven days, to help.
    • If asking someone from outside your household to help, ensure they clean their hands prior to touching the supplies and on leaving your property.
    • All members of the household should move into another room or retain 2m distancing.
    • If you have no-one to help you, call your supporting clinical team for advice.
  • During the COVID-19 pandemic you will not need to sign for your delivery. Instead your driver will ring the bell and wait at a distance for you to answer the door. The driver will sign on your behalf to confirm you have received your delivery. Delivery drivers have been asked not to leave products unattended, in full view. Please contact your HEN provider to let them know where to leave your delivery if you are unable to immediately bring the items into your home.
  • Due to anticipated increase in demands it may not be possible for you to have the same drivers you usually have. Please be understanding if there are changes to your delivery times and days.
  • If you have items that need to be returned, please consider if you can continue to store them until after the current situation changes or ends, except for feeding pumps which should be returned as a priority so they can be cleaned and serviced for other patients to use.

Enteral feed equipment - we need your help

There is an urgent need for extra enteral feeding and equipment nationwide. If you have a pump that is not in use and has not been returned, please contact your HEN provider at your earliest opportunity to arrange for it to be picked up. If you have a spare pump, please discuss with your healthcare professional whether this is needed at this time as returning it even on a temporary basis may help others during a period of increased demand.

If you are on pump feeding, your dietitian may discuss with you the option of changing to bolus feeding (this involves administering the enteral feed using a syringe) or gravity feeding. This will not be recommended if your dietitian feels it could impact on how well you tolerate your enteral feed.

Although we are pursuing actions to ensure we have enough pumps to meet the increased demand, should your pump malfunction during a period when there is a shortage of pumps available nationally, the dietitian will discuss alternative feeding methods to ensure you continue to have your enteral feed.

Read the full document here.