Now, more so than ever, we need to ensure that the most vulnerable members of society are looked and taking the necessary precautions to avoid the repercussions of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Whilst people over the age of 70 are categorised as vulnerable, this also extends to those who are pregnant and those with the following underlying health conditions:
- Chronic (long-term) respiratory diseases, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema or bronchitis
- Chronic heart disease, such as heart failure
- Chronic kidney disease
- Chronic liver disease, such as hepatitis
- Chronic neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), a learning disability or cerebral palsy
- Problems with your spleen – for example, sickle cell disease or if you have had your spleen removed
- A weakened immune system as the result of conditions such as HIV and AIDS, or medicines such as steroid tablets or chemotherapy
- Being seriously overweight (a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or above)
Whilst Coronavirus (COVID-19), can impact people in different ways, causing only mild symptoms for some, for older people and the aforementioned, it can be more serious. It is important that we do all we can to help reduce the risk of them contracting Coronavirus.
One of the main ways to prevent the transmission of this highly contagious disease is to ensure all vulnerable people stay at home. This is advice that all persons can adhere to.
Many health professionals and Government bodies are strongly advising people, and not just those at a higher risk, to stay at home and follow social distancing measures.
To combat the fear and anxiety of social distancing and staying at home, you can recommend the following to older or vulnerable people who have been advised to self-isolate:
- Stay in touch with family and friends over the phone
- Check if they need any shopping or assistance
- Encourage others to stay in contact
- Encourage them to keep active by moving around the house or spending time in the garden or outdoor area
Reducing the risk of contracting Coronavirus (COVID-19)
As mentioned previously, it’s imperative that the correct measures are taken; this includes staying at home and avoiding any unnecessary travel, as well as social distancing measures if travel is compulsory.
To reduce the risk of infection for yourself and those people around you, it’s extremely important to wash your hand frequently and thoroughly with soap and hot water. The NHS has provided guidance on the best way to wash your hands, which you can view here.
You should always make sure you catch coughs or sneezes with a tissue or your sleeve – not your hands – and put used tissues in the bin. Then wash your hands, avoiding touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
Need assistance getting foods and medicines?
If you need help, ask family, friends and neighbours to support you by leaving required items outside your premises, avoiding unnecessary contact. You could also enlist the help of online services, such as food delivery services, however the demand for this service has steadily increased in recent weeks.
If any of the above is not possible, speak to others such as neighbours or local support groups and ask them to help you make arrangements for the delivery of food, medicines and essential services and supplies. It’s important to look after both your physical and mental health and wellbeing at this time.
If you currently receive support from health and social care organisations, this will continue as normal. Your health trust or health care provider will be asked to take additional precautions to make sure that you are protected.
Medicines and COVID-19
There is no need for you to do anything new or different when ordering or taking your medicines.
If you need to order prescriptions or medicines, you should order these as normal. Extra supplies should not be ordered from your doctor.
Stockpiling or purchasing medication that you do not need is unnecessary and could disadvantage other people.
Vulnerable Persons Receiving Care
For anyone receiving domiciliary care or those living in nursing and residential care homes, the Public Health Agency has published guidance here.
Advice for extremely vulnerable people (Shielding)
The UK Government has published guidance for people, including children, who are at high risk of severe illness from Coronavirus (COVID-19) because of an underlying health condition, and for their family, friends and carers. Check out the full article here.