Our clients who are living with asbestos diseases fall into the category of people classed by the Government as “extremely vulnerable” and who are currently being shielded during the COVID-19 crisis. This is because they are:
- Mostly over the age of 65;
- Living with aggressive cancers such as mesothelioma and asbestos related lung cancer;
- Need access to diagnostic tests, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and/or immunotherapy;
- Already suffer from severe respiratory symptoms such as shortness of breath, cough, chest pain;
- May be living alone
We understand that this is a very distressing time as they are having to make deeply personal decisions about whether or not to risk attending hospital to get the cancer treatment they so desperately need. They may also feel guilty about burdening the care and social support services and/or their families, whilst the NHS is under strain to control the virus.
Although strict isolation is necessary, the guidance is stifling to those with limited life expectancy. The uncertainty of how long these measures will last, coupled with the unpredictable changes in routine and the possible suspension of treatment, is a huge cause of anxiety and stress.
Online connectivity is helping to tackle feelings of loneliness, but many of our clients thrive on having face to face interaction with family, friends and medical professionals that can no longer be facilitated.
Unfortunately, people will still continue to be at risk from asbestos related diseases once the virus has been controlled. It is particularly important that our clients continue to look out for the early warning signs and contact their GP if they suffer any exacerbated or new symptoms.
We can only urge everyone to follow the Government’s current advice. During this particularly difficult period, what we can offer, as always, is moral and compassionate support, to ensure our clients do not feel completely isolated at this time.