What do “support bubbles” mean for people with pancreatic cancer?

18 June 2020

Please be aware that some of the guidance may have changed since we wrote this blog. Read our coronavirus information for details of the current guidance.

Hello, we are Lynne and Emma, Pancreatic Cancer Specialist Nurses

You might have heard a lot in the media this week about “support bubbles”. We’ll explain a bit more about what they mean for people with pancreatic cancer. Support bubbles are currently only an option if you live in England or Northern Ireland.

First of all, if you are shielding, you are advised not to form a support bubble. This is because you are at higher risk of getting seriously ill if you get coronavirus. The government recognises that shielding has been difficult for people and are reviewing this advice regularly. You can read the current advice for people shielding in our coronavirus informationIf you have pancreatic cancer but aren’t shielding, you may still be at risk of getting unwell from coronavirus. You can form a support bubble, but are advised to bear this in mind. If it is sometime since you had pancreatic cancer, you may be at lower risk from coronavirus, and a support bubble may be an option for you.

You may be able to form a support bubble if you or someone close to you lives alone. The support bubble would include the whole household of the person who doesn’t live alone. So for example, if you live on your own, you could form a support bubble with your daughter and her partner and children. Or if you live with your family, you could form a support bubble with a friend who lives on their own. You should only form a support bubble with one other person or household, and should not change or add to your support bubble. So for example, if you’ve formed a support bubble with your daughter and her family, you couldn’t form a support bubble with your son and his family.

Everyone in the support bubble can meet indoors as well as outside, be physically close to each other (you don’t have to maintain the 2 metres social distancing), and stay overnight. It effectively means that you can act as if you are all members of the same household.

If anyone in your support bubble gets coronavirus symptoms, everyone in the support bubble should stay at home. If anyone in the support bubble is contacted as part of the test and trace programme, that person should stay at home. If the person contacted gets coronavirus symptoms, everyone in the support bubble must then isolate.

We’re here for you

We know that although lockdown is starting to be eased for many people, this is still a worrying time for people with pancreatic cancer. There is still a risk from coronavirus, and we are still restricted as to who we can see, especially if you’re shielding. This makes life hard. Although the NHS is getting services back up and running, things continue to feel different and there may still be changes to your treatment and care. Remember that we are still here for you.

We hope you have found these blogs useful. Over the next few weeks, we’ll continue to update you when the government makes changes that affect people with pancreatic cancer, as it can sometimes be difficult to work out what changes mean for you personally. These blogs may not be every week.

If you do have any questions about pancreatic cancer, then do contact your medical team. And if you need any help or information then you can always contact our Support Line nurses on 0808 801 0707 or email them at nurse@pancreaticcancr.org.uk

As always thank you for reading our blog, and please stay safe.

Lynne & Emma