Overcoming the challenge of caring for vulnerable people during the Covid-19 pandemic

In these extraordinary times it is more difficult than ever to provide care for vulnerable loved ones. Older people living at home with existing health conditions are especially at risk if they can’t get sufficient care. This is true in normal times but while the Covid-19 crisis continues it is more difficult than ever .

Elderly people often have conditions that make them extremely vulnerable, or they may have received a letter from the NHS advising them to take shielding measures during the crisis.

But while the Government has issued guidelines about shielding, many families, elderly and vulnerable people and carers themselves either do not know what shielding is, or exactly what the guidelines say.

Below we have outlined the Government Shielding Guidelines:

1. What is Shielding?
a. Shielding is a measure to protect extremely vulnerable people by minimising interaction between those who are extremely vulnerable and others.
2. What does that mean in reality?
a. This means that those who are extremely vulnerable should not leave their homes, and within their homes should minimise all non-essential contact with other members of their household. This is to protect those who are at very high risk of severe illness from Covid-19 from coming into contact with the virus.
3. What are the shielding measures in detail?
• Strictly avoid contact with someone who is displaying symptoms of Covid-19. Symptoms include high temperature and/or new and continuous cough.
• Do not leave your house.
• Do not attend any gatherings with family or friends, including religious services.
• Do not go out for shopping, leisure or travel. Food or medication deliveries should be left at the door to minimise contact.
• Keep in touch using remote technology such as phone, Internet and social media.
• Use telephone or online services to contact your GP or other essential services.

The guidelines make a lot of sense, however there is no doubt that for many of the people they are aimed at they will be extremely difficult to follow.

For example something as simple as picking up the telephone to contact a doctor may well be beyond their ability, let alone using an online service.

So the question arises how can vulnerable people at extreme risk conform to the shielding guidelines and cope with the struggles of every day living during this worrying time?

One solution is to opt for live in care using a trusted provider.

The major benefit of live-in care is that the vulnerable person will have all of their needs catered for by a single person within their home, yet the carer will not actually have to come into physical contact with them unless absolutely essential, in line with social distancing guidelines.

Carers are considered to be key workers, but while some carers will visit a number of vulnerable people every day, increasing the risks to both themselves and their clients, live-in care workers will only look after one person.

By using a live-in care worker the client will find stability and control returns to their lives, giving both them and their families peace of mind.

During this difficult time a live-in carer can:

• Ensure shielding & social distancing guidelines are met
• Assist with eating and drinking
• Cook and ensure the client eats and drinks
• Prompt the client to take their medication
• Collect prescriptions
• Ensure the client maintains personal care and hygiene
• Assist with paperwork
• Shop for food
• Clean the home

All of the live in carers we provide at Helpd.co.uk have been in isolation for at least seven days, have not have had any symptoms of Covid-19 or been in contact with people who have symptoms.

We are meticulous in ensuring our carers do not put themselves or others at risk.

Live-in care is a perfect solution at this worrying time to ensure vulnerable people receive the care they need.

To discover more about how live-in care can assist your vulnerable family member during this crisis please contact Helpd.co.uk on 0118 408 0449.

For more shielding guidance see:

• https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19
• https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/infections-and-poisoning/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-covid-19-shielding

For advice about protecting vulnerable people from Covid-19 see:

• https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-vulnerable-people