Am I going to die? Communicating COVID-19 test results and risk

Going into hospital as an emergency during the COVID-19 pandemic must be extremely scary for patients and their relatives. With no relatives allowed to visit and staff dressed in full PPE, the experience must be so much more unnerving than usual. Add to that the incredible worry about catching COVID-19 for those who don’t already have it; or the worry about what might happen for those who do. Will they pull through? Could this be the end?

I’m privileged to be co-leading the COvid-19 National DiagnOstic Research and evaluation programme (CONDOR), which involves a collaboration between amazing teams in Manchester, Oxford, Leeds, Newcastle, London and Nottingham. The programme evaluates diagnostic tests for COVID-19.

We’re extremely lucky to have two very experienced and proactive patient and public representatives as members of our steering committee: Graham Prestwich from Leeds and Val Tate from Oxford.

I recently spoke with Graham and Val to get their thoughts about how we, as clinicians, might effectively communicate with patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. They provide their important insights from a lay perpsective about what they would want from their clinician.

We cover everything from the challenges of communicating while wearing PPE to the way to answer important questions like, “Am I going to die?”, which many of us have, I’m sure, had to answer on a number of occasions over the past 12 months.

This podcast is aimed at patients, friends and family who may not have been immersed in the technicalities of COVID-19 for the last year, but who have been bombarded with all sorts of information through media and other sources. Please share it with whomever you may feel will be interested.

I hope that you enjoy the podcast. We realise that 25 minutes wasn’t long enough to cover everything we’d have liked to.We’d really like to know what you think. Are there things that we haven’t covered that you’d like us to? What are your experiences? We’d love you to share your thoughts in the chat!


Cite this article as: Rick Body, "Am I going to die? Communicating COVID-19 test results and risk," in St.Emlyn's, February 18, 2021,

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