Our partner Wysa has written some guidance for our patients based on the latest government actions and what it means if you’re classed as vulnerable.
Top tips for staying safe and staying well when your considered high risk.
When Covid-19 was declared a global pandemic, we were told that though the virus can be life threatening and precaution is essential, it is far more concerning for a vulnerable few. It was messaging that was meant to reassure most people, but what if you fall into that vulnerable group?
The NHS has broken down vulnerability into two groups, the very high risk and the high risk. Those considered to be very high risk are likely to have received a letter telling them to isolate for 12 weeks. These are people who have had organ transplants, are having treatment for cancer, have serious lung conditions or other conditions that severely impact your immune system. However, there is also a wider at risk group, who perhaps didn’t receive letters but are being stressed to limit journeys out of the house as much as possible. These are people with long term health conditions, the over 70’s and pregnant women. All in all a broad group who hear daily they are most at risk of this extremely serious virus. That’s not good for anyone’s mental wellbeing or for managing those existing conditions.
With this last weeks announcement of some slight easing of measures many vulnerable adults are worried and confused about keeping themselves safe and the risk of a second peak. As a clinical nurse consultant, my colleagues and I are hearing lots of these questions every day. I myself have several members of my family considered at risk, so here are my tried and tested tips for keeping safe and keeping well during this pandemic:
Reduce your exposure to news
With nothing else to talk about the news channels seems to broadcast Covid-19 related news all day. This can be very damaging to your mental health and stress and anxiety can exacerbate any conditions you might have. Try to limit the news you watch, such as only watching the daily briefing at 5pm which recaps all the days key points. Also consider where you get you news from, social media might not be the most reliable source of information.
Take steps to protect your well-being
Your mental health is very important at this time and we are all feeling the strain. 83% of people report feeling an increase in anxiety and a lack of routine, finance worries, family concerns and a lack social contact are all negative strains on wellbeing. 25 Million people reported high levels of anxiety last month and it really is no surprise. WYSA are here to help you with that. WYSA is full of hundreds of tools to support wellbeing and help you tackle anxiety, stress and worry. There are even some specific Covid modules that have been created to help you at these difficult times. It’s completely confidential and if you feel like you need some additional support you can book in to speak to one of their counsellors to.
Practical steps can make a big change
Managing day to day life when your being told to isolate can be difficult. Especially when others are seeing some easing in restrictions. Asking neighbours to support you by doing some shopping on your behalf, or asking your GP to refer you to the NHS volunteer service for support are some practical ways to get things you might need. Fortunately, you don’t need to worry about keeping up with your medication during this time. Fortunately, you don’t need to worry about keeping up with your medication during this time. Pharmacy2U, the UK’s largest online pharmacy, will deliver your medication to your door for free. With contactless delivery to ensure you stay safe, stay in and stay on top of any conditions you might have.
A good night’s sleep and a much needed cup of tea (sort of)
Many people are starting to report difficulties in their sleep patterns – finding it difficult to fall asleep or to get out of bed in the morning. The changes to routine can have a big impact on sleep so try to ensure you get up and go to bed around the same time every day. WYSA have a whole area dedicated to sleep to help you ensure you get a good night’s kip. Dehydration is also a big problem at the moment. We are less conscious of what we drink at home and therefore might not be drinking so much water. Try and challenge yourself to drink plenty of water, or even a nice cup of tea. However remember that Tea is a diuretic (meaning it can dehydrate you more if you drink too much) and consider switching to decaf if you drink a lot.
Helping loved ones from afar
For many of us we may not fall into the vulnerable category but have loved ones who do. There are practical steps you can take on your loved ones behalf to help them to isolate if they are not confident to do this for themselves. For example if your loved one is not comfortable using technology you can arrange for them to get their medication delivered for free and direct to their door. Ensuring neither of you have to make unnecessary trips to the GP or pharmacy and providing you with peace of mind that their medications are all being handled and looked after by an expert team with over 20 years experience. With online pharmacies, such as Pharmacy2U you can set up an account on behalf of someone else, provided you have their consent. Simply select you’re registering on behalf of someone else during the sign up process and make sure you order 10 days in advance to give the GP, Pharmacy and Royal Mail enough time to deliver their medication. They’ll also remind you when the next prescription is due for added peace of mind. A number of helplines are still operating offering call in’s and advice such as the Admiral Nurses hotline for patients with dementia with tips and tricks to help people isolating without their usual carer network.