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Preparing to stay at home

Stay at home

The Government has asked everyone in the UK to stay at home. This means even people who may not be at a high risk should only leave the house for limited reasons. These measures are to help prevent the spread of the virus, and protect the most vulnerable.

It's sensible to be prepared to stay at home more and put a plan in place in case you are advised to self-isolate, or simply decide you no longer feel comfortable going out.

Ask for help

Talk to family, friends and neighbours to let them know how they can help. Many communities are also organising local support groups as well. Don’t be afraid to ask!

Explore what you can do by phone or online.

Essential supplies

Make a list of the things you need day to day including food, household essentials and medication.

Check on what you’ve got and what you may need to order or buy in the next few days. Don’t forget the things you may want to keep going with hobbies and interests at home.

There is no need to stockpile. Shops and pharmacies will keep refreshing their supplies. Many shops are also restricting access to the wider public at particular times of day to allow older people to shop first. Check with your local supermarket.     

But it is important to note that it may take longer than usual to receive deliveries to your home so do plan ahead, particularly if you have your usual prescriptions delivered. If you have any concerns about your medication, or worried you’re running low, then talk to your pharmacist.

If you are considered in an ‘at risk’ group you will be receiving a letter from the NHS which provides you with more information on how the Government will support you to stay at home and not leave the house. This includes information on how to let them know if you need help getting food supplies.

Being prepared

Think about other things it would be useful to prepare, this may include:

  • keeping to hand a list of useful telephone numbers – as well as family and friends this could include your GP, local council, carers, local pharmacy and delivery services.
  • having a list of your medications and important medical information to hand.
  • if you have a mobile phone and/or access to the internet, think about how you could use them to help (e.g. online shopping, video calls, sending and receiving emails and messages) and check you are confident you know how.
  • do you need to keep some cash at home?
  • if you are on a pay as you go gas or electricity, is it topped up?

Medical appointments

The NHS are trying to reduce the number of people visiting hospitals. This is to stop the spread of coronavirus and to protect the NHS.

Cancer treatment and clinically urgent care will still be treated as a priority, but your treatment plan might be reviewed.  Your clinical team will talk to you and answer questions you may have about any changes to your treatment or appointments. This is a worrying time for everyone. For support, take a look at Macmillan’s guidance on coronavirus for cancer patients.

There’s going to be some changes to outpatient appointments. Some people will be asked to have their appointment over the phone or by online video consultation. Other patients will find their appointment has been rearranged or cancelled for now.

Patients who need to have their appointments face-to-face will be asked not to bring a friend or relative with them, unless completely necessary.

Most hospitals will contact patients with changes to their appointments, but if you haven’t heard you could look at the hospital’s website for guidance.

All non-emergency operations are being suspended for at least three months. This is to help keep patients safe and to make sure the NHS have the resources they need to tackle coronavirus.

This will include hip and knee replacements, cataract surgery, as well as minor surgery.  We know lot of people people will have already been waiting a long time for their treatment and this news might be frustrating for some, but keeping the coronavirus under control must be the top priority at this time.

If you have symptoms of coronavirus, or a member of your household does, you must not go to your hospital appointment. Instead, you should contact your doctor to organise receiving treatment in an alternative way.

If you have health conditions which make you extremely vulnerable to coronavirus and have been advised to shield, then you should contact your GP or specialist for advice on how to continue receiving your care and treatment.

Care and support

I already have social care, what will happen to it?

If you normally receive care and support in your own home this should continue even if you become unwell and are advised to self-isolate.

Care staff have received additional information and guidance about how to look after people and ensure the virus doesn’t spread.

However, care services may be busier than usual and will no doubt also have some staff that need to take time off unwell. As a result you might experience changes to your normal services such as seeing different care workers or receiving visits at different times of day.

If you have concerns or are experiencing difficulties getting the help you need, contact your care provider and/or your local council for help.

I don’t have social care currently, but what if my needs change?

If you feel your needs have changed and you can no longer cope at home without support, you should contact your local authority and speak to them about this.

It is expected that care services will be busier than usual over the coming weeks and months and as such you may have to wait longer than usual to get support.

It might be a good idea to talk to family, friends or trusted neighbours to see if they can help you in the meantime.

Hospital discharge

If you are currently in hospital or are admitted as a result of coronavirus support will be arranged for you when you are discharged.

This is in part due to the Government’s response to ensure hospitals have the space they need to support people who are unwell because of coronavirus. The hospital and your local authority will arrange care to support you to live at home.

Useful numbers

Age UK Advice: 0800 169 6565

Free, confidential information and guidance, 8am to 7pm, 365 days a year.

The Silver Line: 0800 4 70 80 90

Call for a cheerful chat, day or night. 

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Last updated: Mar 26 2020

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