Covid-19's after effects continue to take hold on families

As the plot surrounding Covid-19 continues to thicken, further mysteries are now revealing themselves in the form of mental and physical problems in patients recovering from Covid-19 that extend further than just respiratory.

In a recent BBC News article it is becoming increasingly clear that the Coronavirus is more than just an illness affecting the lungs. In fact, many patients recovering from the disease have reported problems such as fatigue, delirium, anxiety - and even strokes. Worryingly, some of those patients have reported comparatively mild symptoms, yet are still being hit hard by the virus' after effects.

One person named in the article, Paul Mylrea, arrived at University College Hospital by ambulance. He was confused and was described as having a "blank expression" by doctors, as he experienced weakness down one side and struggled to remember how to use his mobile phone. Paul was suffering from a stroke, which doctors later diagnosed as a complication arising from his body trying to fight Covid-19.

It turned out he wasn't alone. A study by the Lancet Psychiatry found brain complications in 125 seriously ill Covid-19 patients in UK hospitals. Almost half had suffered a stroke due to a blood clot in the same circumstances as Paul Mylrea. Others experienced things like brain inflammation - with some even reporting dementia-like symptoms.

What is worrying is that these problems were unknown side effects in a disease we continue to learn about every single day. If we suddenly lose the ability to think or act for ourselves, or become unexpectedly incapacitated, there is a huge knock-on effect to an individual’s quality of life and that of their families. These ramifications aren't even due to the virus itself which has been hard on patients and their relatives, but to experience serious after effects is extremely concerning.

I work with families every day in my line of work dealing with wills and probate, as well as Lasting Power of Attorneys (LPAs). I am often approached by members of a deceased loved one’s family who has died without a will, or they are struggling to access finances of family members who are still alive, but are unable to act without a legal signature.

Their stories are quite often the same. We know no one likes to think about death, never mind planning for it - but the recent effects of Covid-19 and subsequent illnesses has had to wake us up quickly to the possibility that our lives may change at very short notice.

Being proactive and having conversations with families is a great start. Speak to each other about any wishes you have for medical treatment and make plans for who would look after your finances, pay any bills or rent if you were unable to do so yourself. You can nominate an individual(s) called an attorney (s), to look after your affairs for you and they will only be able to do so if/when you need support or if/when you become incapacitated. However, they will not be able to act at all without a legal document.

Be prepared, as it's always better to be safe than sorry!

If you would like to know more about wills or LPAs, contact Downs Solicitors to see how we can help.

Liz Dalgetty

Liz Dalgetty

Consultant Solicitor & Notary Public

Tel: +44 (0) 1306 502251

Office: Dorking Office

Email: [email protected]