RELATIVES caring for elderly people at home, or those with loved ones in care homes, should be prepared to be contacted by home staff or GPs asking them to consider whether to set up a Do Not Admit notice - which would mean their relative was not taken to hospital if they contract coronavirus.

Cllr Bill Douglas, from Chippenham, whose wife Alice is cared for at home, said that this is a “horrible experience” for relatives, as well as the doctors.

He said: “Doctors in the area are now contacting high dependence care users or Power of Attorney relatives and care homes asking about care users having Do Not Admit and Do Not Resuscitate notices.

“With condition of my wife, I appreciate the doctor’s gentle approach and when I thought about it, which I had to, I realised that she probably wouldn’t survive going into hospital.

“I’ve had to think about it previously, but to be asked not to admit someone for treatment which could possibly revive them was a very difficult question to give an answer to.”

The Nation Care Association said that asking relatives to think about people's futures is routine practice for those admitted into care homes or care services.

Nadra Ahmed, executive chairman of the NCA, said: “This is done to deal with all possibilities and is based on the residents' right to choose if they have the capacity, or for their representative to work with the provider and professionals to record. As far as we are concerned that applies now as always.”

Cllr Douglas wants to see closed wards at Chippenham Hospital re-opened during the emergency.

He added: “This would indicate that the doctors themselves expect to be overwhelmed in the availability of beds in this area which makes it more urgent that, like retired nurses being asked to return to work, the hospital be brought back into use.”

RUH medical director, Dr Bernie Marden said: “It’s really important that we are communicating effectively with our patients, their families and carers about what collectively we feel are the most appropriate courses of action in terms of the type of care that they receive.

“I want to reassure everybody that we absolutely do have the capacity to look after everybody’s needs and that’s not just patients with Covid-19."