NICE issues guidance on critical care for COVID-19 patients

NICE advises on assessing adults with COVID-19 for frailty and including patients and carers in decision-making

COVID-19 NICE guidance

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has issued guidance on how to decide whether to admit an adult with COVID-19 to critical care.

This guidance is one of the first of a package of COVID-19 guidelines being developed rapidly to maximise patient safety, make the best use of NHS resources and protect staff from infection.

It states that, irrespective of COVID-19 status, adults admitted to hospital should be assessed for frailty using the Clinical Frailty Scale (CFS) as part of a holistic assessment. 

Clinicans should be aware of the limitations of using the CFS as the sole assessment of frailty, and comorbidities and underlying health conditions should be considered. The CFS should not be used in younger people, people with stable long-term disabilities (for example, cerebral palsy), learning disabilities or autism.

NICE has said however that the tool should not be used in certain groups, including those with learning disabilities or stable long-term disabilities such as cerebral palsy.

Read the NICE guidance at COVID-19 rapid guideline: critical care in adults (NICE)


This is an abridged version of the article COVID-19: guidance on when to admit patients to critical care that was first published on Nursing Standard as part of the free COVID-19 resource centre, created to support all nurses and healthcare professionals during this challenging period as they care for coronavirus patients.

The COVID-19 resource centre includes evidence-based clinical articles and "how-to" guides, the latest news, policy updates and a selection of relevant RCNi Learning modules.

It is hoped that nurses and student nurses will share it with colleagues and across their networks to help healthcare professionals battle against COVID-19 and bring the outbreak under control.

Visit the Nursing Standard COVID-19 resource centre

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