A guide to looking after those most vulnerable: COVID-19 update
These are difficult times in light of the ongoing lock-down prohibiting people from leaving the house unless ‘absolutely necessary’. The government advice has stated that food shops and assisting the vulnerable are recognised as essential travel. I have been compiling some helpful information to help you look after your loved ones or neighbours during these uncertain times.
All the information provided was correct as of 6 April 2020 but please be aware there are constant changes to the pandemic response so this information may become outdated.
How to register as ‘extremely vulnerable’
Many of the stores are primarily focusing on those who are ‘extremely vulnerable’ and will reach out to you if you are registered with the government in this respect. Any person who meets the following criteria can register under the government scheme here.
The government has listed the criteria as being people who:
- have had a solid organ transplant
- have any cancer and are getting chemotherapy
- have lung cancer and are getting radical radiotherapy
- have cancer of the blood or bone marrow, at any stage of treatment - for example, leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma
- have any cancer for which you’re getting immunotherapy or other continuing antibody treatments
- have any cancer for which you’re getting a targeted treatment which can affect the immune system - for example, protein kinase inhibitors or PARP inhibitors
- have had bone marrow or stem cell transplants in the last 6 months, or are still taking immunosuppression drugs
- have a severe respiratory condition - including cystic fibrosis, severe asthma or severe COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)
- have a rare disease or inborn error of metabolism that significantly increases your risk of infection - for example SCID or homozygous sickle cell
- are getting an immunosuppression therapy that’s sufficient to significantly increase your risk of infection
- are pregnant
- have a significant congenital or acquired heart disease.
The elderly and vulnerable people, as well as carers and NHS workers may benefit from the dedicated store hours to obtain their food before stocks deplete for the day.
Click on the following stores to see their website for updates on their COVID-19 responses:
We also recommend that if you are struggling to find produce, please check in with and support your local farm shops, grocers and butchers as well.
Please note that the online delivery services are very busy and you may struggle to get a slot. If a person is registered with the government as ‘extremely vulnerable’ you may get prioritised food deliveries.
Other resources to check
Many local authorities are setting up additional support for the elderly and vulnerable. It is worth contacting them to see what additional support they can set up. This may include organising delivery of food supplies for those who do not have anyone to help them with this, depending on what support the local authority has available.
There are also mutual aid groups across the country. You can search for your local group here and if you are a member of a community support group, you can register your group on the site to share learning, resources and support.
If you have concerns about a vulnerable loved one and believe they need additional support during this time, there are various aspects of care which you may wish to consider.
- Loneliness is one of the most common problems with elderly and vulnerable if they are living alone or feel isolated. Age UK offers a befriending service which would mean that your loved one would receive a regular phone call to keep them connected to the outside world. If you have concern for their mental health, there is information and support available on the MIND website as well.
- If your loved one is on regular medication, you can check with their pharmacy to see if they can deliver the prescriptions instead to avoid the need to go out. You can contact the GP to discuss more about home delivery services.
- If you believe that your loved one will require more assistance with their personal care and physical health needs, you can search for local care services on the homecare website. Carers are considered key workers so are still able to visit vulnerable persons and care agencies will have protective measures in place due to the coronavirus. This is particularly recommended if your loved one is unable to attend a day-care centre so is spending increased time at home.
- If you are looking after a loved one during this time, make sure that there is a contingency plan in place in case you are unable to continue offering that support.
- Make sure that there is plenty of stimulation to keep your loved ones entertained. If your loved one is tech-savvy perhaps show them online games like card games, chess or puzzle games. If they are less happy with computers, you can also ensure they have plenty of puzzles and books or audiobooks to keep them occupied. Many TV networks are also increasing their on demand programs so they can watch David Attenborough narrate life under the sea, or keep up with the latest crime series!
We hope this guide was of help and we wish you all good health and that you can stay safe.
If you are considering a need for a Power of Attorney to better manage your loved ones’ assets and care during this time, or have any other issues you would like to talk about, including updating a Will please give us a call on 01622 698040 to arrange to speak to one of our lawyers.