Coronavirus may feel daunting, especially for older people, people with health problems and pregnant women. Vulnerable groups such as people aged 70 and over, those with long term health conditions and pregnant women should continue to take particular care and minimise contact with others outside of their household. Knowing what we can do and can’t do is important to help control the spread of the virus.
Supporting people staying at home
If you are staying at home here are some things to consider to help you stay safe and well.
Emergency Assistance Grant
The Local Authority Emergency Assistance Grant for Food and Essential Supplies is to support people who are struggling to afford food and other essentials due to financial hardship and/or hardship caused by COVID-19. This scheme is temporary.
Services across the NHS have had to change the way that they work to keep people safe.
Telephone/video appointments are now in place to reduce the number of people needing to visit GPs. There are also special sites set up to see people with coronavirus symptoms. Despite the changes, NHS services are still there for you if you need them.
Pharmacies remain open, GPs have appointments available (but you should not go to the practice without calling first) and hospitals are there for those in urgent need. For any concerns, call your GP and they will be able to advise you on the best thing to do. If you are concerned about attending an appointment please talk to your health care professional first rather than deciding not to attend.
It is important that you stay at home as much as possible, but if you have a medical condition or injury which needs treatment, the NHS is still here to look after you. For further information on how to get NHS help visit www.dudleyccg.nhs.uk/coronavirus/coronavirus-getting-nhs-help-when-you-need-it/
Helplines and more information to support you
An army of people and services are working around the clock to support older and vulnerable people and put new measures in place to ensure that no vulnerable person in our community is left unsupported.
You can find out more information about what you can do to help older or vulnerable people in your community at Dudley CVS coronavirus webpage.
There are services available to help including Dudley Council services, charities, community groups, faith groups and other organisations. Here are some useful telephone lines:
- If you are age 60+ and are feeling lonely you can contact Dudley Council’s Pleased to Meet You support service on 01384 812761 Mon to Fri, 9am to 4pm for a regular friendly chat and to find out about help in the local area, including help with arranging for grocery or medicine supplies to be dropped off to you
- Residents of all ages who are staying at home as they are more vulnerable to the impact of COVID 19, self isolating and have no family or community support, or struggling financially can support from Dudley Food and Support Service, run in partnership with CAB, DCVS and Black Country Foodbank. Contact 0300 3302 152 Mon - Fri, 9.30am - 12.30pm, to access support for essential supplies, over the counter medication, befriending support, welfare and benefits advice
NHS responders 0808 196 3646 Daily 8 am to 8pm - Connects you with volunteers in your area who have registered to provide help with transport to medical appointments, shopping and medication.
If you use adult social care services, are worried about service closures or need some support or advice please contact Dudley Council’s adult social care helpline on 0300 555 0055 Mon to Fri, 9am to 5pm, 0300 555 8574 at all other times
- If someone volunteers to help that you don’t know, never give them money or your payment details. There are many local groups set up to help people but they should never ask for your personal bank details
- While many people are looking out for others in the community, a small minority are looking to profit from coronavirus. Read advice from safe & sound for tips on avoiding scams and more. If you suspect a bogus caller, dial 999 in an emergency or call the dedicated bogus caller hotline on 01384 812045
NHS Education England have also brought together information on a range of topics from dementia and support from a number of national charities that you may find useful.
NHS also have resources available to help people with learning disabilities or autism access NHS services during coronavirus.
Information for people who care for a family member or a friend
If you care for a family member or friend you can continue to visit them, unless they or you have any of the symptoms of coronavirus.
- You should wash your hands for 20 seconds on arrival and often during your visit as well as when leaving
- If you sneeze or cough don’t forget to ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’
- You should keep a safe distance of two meters or three steps away from the person you care for
- If you become unwell, you need to make other arrangements for care of the person that you care for, this should be planned for in advanced by creating a contingency plan. This should include your details, the cared for person's details, information about any medication and treatment, any medical appointments and details of who can step in during your absence. Dudley Carers Hub has created a contingency planning toolkit (download PDF). Alternatively you can request a printed copy by calling 01384 818723.
- Make sure the person you care for has the information they need about who they should call if they feel unwell, for example NHS 111
- Look after your own well-being and physical health
- Contact Dudley Carer’s Hub on 01384 818723 for advice and practical support during the coronavirus outbreak
- View the latest national advice for unpaid carers
- Information to help young carers and young adult carers (aged under 25) is also now available. The government guidance is designed to help young carers understand the changes they need to make and details the assistance available during the pandemic. View the guidance for young carers.
If you are pregnant, there’s lots of information on a healthy pregnancy and breastfeeding support available at Let's Get Healthy. If you are pregnant and worried about coronavirus you can find specific, expert advice from www.nhs.uk/pregnancy-and-coronavirus and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.
From 28 weeks of pregnancy your midwife can sign you up to a free text service called Flo which will send you texts during your pregnancy and up to six weeks after your baby is born with useful tips and information. If you’d like to know more about Flo have a look at our introduction to Flo video.
If you are pregnant it is important that you still attend your antenatal appointments and continue to seek advice from your midwife or maternity team.