We are continuing to review our guidance to you all in respect of the coronavirus and just wanted to provide an update.
As you will no doubt be aware, the Government updated its advice yesterday. The key new government measures are:
- Members of the public should avoid gatherings and crowded places, such as pubs, bars, restaurants and theatres
- Where possible, people should work from home
- People should only use the NHS “where we really need to” – and can reduce the burden on workers by getting advice on the NHS website where possible or calling 111 if they feel unwell.
- If one person in any household has a persistent cough or fever, everyone in the house should self-isolate for 14 days
- Those people should, if possible, avoid leaving the house “even to buy food or essentials” and get food and groceries delivered where possible
- If other members of your household develop symptoms, however mild, at any time during the 14 days, they must not leave the home for 7 days from when symptoms started.
- All “unnecessary” visits to friends and relatives in care homes should cease
In view of our beneficiaries, the following groups of people should take particular care to minimize their social contact
- People over the age of 70
- Other adults who would normally be advised to have the flu vaccine (such as those with chronic diseases) or an underlying health condition
- Pregnant women
The above groups should to significantly limit face-to-face interaction with friends and family if possible in addition to the above measures.
The most important thing individuals can do to protect themselves remains washing their hands more often, for at least 20 seconds, with soap and water. Make sure you cough or sneeze into a tissue, put it in a bin and wash your hands.
Beneficiaries with PA’s or anyone who is dependent on others for support are advised to take additional steps and make changes now and over the forthcoming days / weeks that will protect them and those they depend on from communicable diseases like the coronavirus. Here are some useful tips and remember you can contact the Health & Wellbeing team for individual advice if you are concerned:
- Ensure you have sufficient back up support in case your regular PA / Support worker cannot work; those who assist you may not be able to work because either they get sick or they need to take care of a family member who is. You will still need assistance, so make sure you have someone who can provide it. You should identify someone who can provide emergency back up support in a situation like this. Put arrangements in place now with your carer through the use of a “What-If?” plan.
- Ensure that you have the ability to get assistance if your Support Worker /PA does not show up for work. They may not be able to get to you and you need to make sure your needs are able to be met.
- Have at least a week of non-perishable food in your home at any given time (if possible have two weeks’ supply) and identify people who can assist with shopping. If this is not financially feasible please speak to Jeff Provost (Finance Co-ordinator) at the Trust.
- Stock up on other important supplies and medications. There may be shortages of other supplies like toilet paper, cleaning supplies, hygiene products and such. You don’t need to hoard these, but plan to keep a supply in your home. This may mean having friends or family assist you or using a pharmacy that offers prescription delivery.
- Plan for your pets. There may be difficulties in getting pet food or your pets may need someone to take care of them if you are hospitalized. If you have pets, make sure you have planned for their needs too.
- Limit non-essential visitors and have any essential visitors wash their hands and use hand sanitiser when they arrive at your home and each time prior to touching or feeding you. Repeated handwashing is advised. Stay connected to your community and support network through phone/email so you do not become emotionally isolated. You can call the Health and Wellbeing team at the Trust for emotional support at any time.
- Regularly clean, sanitise and disinfect the surfaces that are touched in your home to prevent the spread of infection. If possible, get into the habit of having your PA / Support worker do this each time immediately when they arrive at your home. These include your telephone, doorknobs, your refrigerator handle, your wheelchair controls, lifting device controls and remote controls. Make this convenient by having wipes near the items that should be regularly cleaned.
- Have your PA / Support worker take extra steps to avoid possibly infecting you by wearing a surgical mask if someone close to your attendant – like a member of their household – becomes sick. They should be extra vigilant about not touching their face or yours. Avoid non-essential physical contact like kissing, hugging and shaking hands.
- Individuals should cover their cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. If, as a result of your disability it is difficult for you to cover a cough or sneeze, you are encouraged to wear a surgical mask if you are sneezing or coughing. It is important to use a surgical mask correctly. You may not have access to surgical masks as an individual. You should contact your medical provider, your Department of Social Services, or your managed care organization for assistance with this.
- If you become sick or anyone is your household shows symptoms of coronavirus including temperature, persistent cough, aching and shortness of breath, seek medical care immediately by contacting 111 and call in your backup support as identified in your “What-If?” plan
- If you cannot be supported at home, and need to be hospitalised or cared for by someone who does regularly care for you, you may wish to create a “hospital passport” document in advance outlining your additional support in the event you cannot communicate these. Your PA / Support Worker could assist you with this. There is a useful template that you can download.
You will have heard on the news that coronavirus is having a significant impact on the stock markets at the moment. Rest assured this will not affect your grant levels due to the covenant we have in place with Diageo.
Your grants will be paid in full and on time this year. There is no need to be concerned about that at all. You can log on to your account now to see the amount that will be paid to you in April.
From Tuesday we understand that all face to face PIP and ESA assessments are to be suspended. These are likely to be replaced by paper or telephone assessments. If your re-assessment is delayed, you will continue to receive benefits at your existing rate.
Over the next few days members of the Trust Health & Wellbeing team will be making a wellbeing call to as many of you as possible who we know have an underlying health condition or live alone.
In anxious times like this it is often reassuring and helpful to have someone to talk to, so if you would like to be put in touch with one of our beneficiary volunteers for a regular call we can arrange this for you.
Being socially isolated can be stressful and have an impact on your mental health causing increased anxiety and low mood. Let us know if you are isolating yourself and we will keep in touch and check you have what you need to get through this difficult time.
You can call us - 01480 474074
Email us – firstname.lastname@example.org
Or join us and chat to other beneficiaries on the Forum
Director of Health & Wellbeing
|Dr Susan Brennan MBChB MRCGP