April 9th Update - Advice And Support From The Trust For All Beneficiaries
Here at the Trust we all remain healthy and are continuing to mostly work from home. We are pleased that our IT systems seem to be holding up to this way of working. We have had a few small problems with the phones which we hope we have ironed out – but if you experience any problems when calling us, please let us know via email so that we are aware and can sort it out.
We are continuing to make calls to as many of you as we can, to check you are okay and find out if we can provide any help or support at this challenging time. We are particularly keen to hear from our overseas beneficiaries and will be contacting you via email soon to arrange a video call if you would like one. You don’t have to wait for us to contact you though, drop us an email anytime and we will get back to you.
Thank you to our lovely beneficiary volunteers who are doing an amazing job helping people find their local services – such as shopping delivery – and keeping in touch for a friendly chat. If you would like contact from a volunteer call 01480 474074 or email us.
Just a reminder, if one was needed, that Government guidance has not changed at this time and you should continue to stay at home apart from essential travel to work or get shopping and daily exercise (if you are not ‘shielding’).
We are hearing from many of you how worried you are about your elderly relatives who you can no longer visit because they are shielding or living in care homes. I appreciate that technology is not for everyone but something that my family have set up for my mum (who lives at home but is shielding so has no visitors) is a Facebook Portal. This has a 10” screen and allows mum to make video calls really easily – she just clicks a photo on the screen - through WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger. It is easy to set up and may be worth asking the care home staff if they would allow you to send this in to them to set up in your relative’s room? If you have identified other ways of effectively keeping in touch with elderly relatives, please share them with us.
Advice NI now have a dedicated telephone line to support people in Northern Ireland with shopping, prescriptions, etc. The number is 0808 8020 020.
If you are having problems with your clos-o-mat toilet you can still contact Total Hygiene on the usual number: 0800 374 076 - where you can leave a message, or you can or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. With a reduced staff they may not be able to answer the call but they have told us that if you leave a message they will get back to you.
A little more about shopping - it’s worth continuing to look for online delivery as slots are being released for the coming days even though it may initially say no slot available for some time. Tesco are releasing new slots every day at 5am and 5pm, we understand, and many firms are diversifying to assist in the increased demand for supermarket delivery service.
If you are anxious or unsure about completing a shop online and would just like a simple selection have a look at the variety of food boxes available from Morrison’s from £16.
You can also contact us for help from a volunteer with this.
If you have had a letter to say you are on the Extremely Vulnerable Person database, whether from your GP or from the NHS, it may tell you to go online and register using the unique reference number in the letter. Make sure you do this and if you have difficulty doing it let us know and we will help.
If Your PA Is Not Available
If you have formal PA support via the Local Authority – i.e. via Direct Payments - and your PA is unable to provide care at this time, then you can contact agencies and see if they would provide care using your allocated budget in the interim. You would need to check the LA Direct Payment rate first and alert them that this is what you are doing and you may need to top up the costs as agency costs are likely to be lower than agency rates. However it could provide a useful back up to meet your needs. We have had some success with Home Instead a nationally franchised agency in the last few weeks.
Coping With Isolation
Every Mind Matters, the NHS mental health website, has some really good help and advice on looking after your mental health. We particularly like this short quiz that helps you find the right advice for you.
Take a look at our own guidelines on how to protect your mental health during this time. We’ve also got suggestions for ways to keep yourselves occupied while at home.
How You Are Managing
Many of you are sharing your stories and tips on the website forum and we would encourage you to continue to do this as the staff team can also get involved here (we are not on Facebook).
Visit our website Forum
If you have forgotten your website log in details just drop an email to us and we will get you back up and running.
We have recently heard from a beneficiary about how they are trying to stay healthy in their small remote community. They say:
‘I use my mouth to pick up, open packets, carrying small items around etc. I have tried to stop myself doing this, but now I’m adapting by washing anything and everything with hot soapy water - so sometimes I‘m feeling confident enough to say, rip open a packet with my teeth as I usually do, as long as I’ve washed it first.
We’re washing everything all the time, with hot soapy water: hands, face, feet (my feet, as I use my feet a lot at home), all surfaces, anything we touch; door knobs, taps, bannisters, household items, handles of every kind, phones, iPad, keyboards, medications, door jambs, window catches, bank card, car door, etc. We wash incoming post, parcels, food items, prescriptions, leaving them outside for a few hours before they come in to start their decontamination.
Luckily we have quite a big shed outside, so we’re using that for storing most food, and that’s where incoming stuff gets washed - things only come into the house once they’ve been washed or left out there long enough.
I’m also aware that because my body touches surfaces more than ‘normal’, because of having no arm-reach, I’m always up against things - and also I hold everything to my chest carrying things around, there’s extra chances for transference onto me. So I am laundering my clothes more than usual. All this washing, wiping and laundry is tiring in itself, my hands are under a lot of strain with all this, but I’m trying to be rigorous and we’re setting up ways of doing it more easily, like a bowl of soapy water outside (bowl with handles) to help.
I’m not allowing my PA in, as we are shielding ourselves, so all down to us just now.’
We are really pleased that the Annual Grant payment requests received were all processed on 6 April as usual.
We will be in touch very soon about your Health Grant payments so that we can get everything in place. We would really appreciate if you could email your forms to us if at all possible – it makes things a lot easier in this period of remote working, and saves you having to go outside.
Take care of yourself – and keep safe and well!
Director of Health & Wellbeing