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Advice for people who are at higher risk of illness from COVID-19

Advice for people who are at higher risk of illness from COVID-19 virus (e.g. older people, people with health conditions and pregnant women)

Dudley Council encourages residents to continue to remain vigilant as Coronavirus cases remain high. While most legal restrictions have been lifted for the general public, cautious guidance to reduce the spread of Covid-19 remains.

See Government website and Dudley Council webpages for further information and advice on the current guidelines and recommendations. See information for people who were previously identified as clinically extremely vulnerable.

People are encouraged to take personal responsibility to protect ourselves and others and to consider the following:

  • Regular hand washing, or using hand sanitiser when unable to wash your hands
  • Carry out thorough cleaning and focus on touch points e.g. handles, light switches
  • Meet outdoors where possible and if you do meet indoors ensure it is well ventilated
  • A face covering is recommended to be worn where you come into contact with others you don’t usually meet and in enclosed and crowded places.
  • Take up the vaccine when offered. To find your local vaccination centre
  • Take twice weekly lateral flow tests even if you don’t have symptoms. One in three people with COVID don’t have symptoms and could be spreading the virus without knowing it. Click here to find out how to access lateral flow tests.
  • Mixing with fewer people, keeping your distance and limiting the time of our social contacts can help reduce spreading the virus
  • If you do develop symptoms of Covid-19. However mild, isolate and book a PCR test. Find your local test centre.

Help and support if you're staying at home

If you find yourself having to isolate at home and need help and support

Looking after your wellbeing

  • Be prepared, but only buy what you and your family need (personal, food and household essential items), arrange for someone to pick things up for you or get things delivered.
  • Order repeat prescriptions at the right time, about a week before you run out – do this over the phone.
  • Order the right amount – there is no need to add items to your prescription that you have not been taking regularly or recently.
  • Keep your room temperature comfortable and well ventilated. If you do have a fever, be careful not to overheat.
  • If you are able to, keep moving around, even when stuck indoors. Move every hour to keep joints and muscles working and to boost circulation
  • Eat regularly and try and have at least one hot meal a day.
  • Eat healthy balanced meals and drink enough water to stay hydrated. Visit lets-get.com or the NHS for resources and information on eating well
  • Visit our Self Management information if you have a long term health condition and would like to learn some self care tips on how to develop a healthy sleep pattern, manage pain and fatigue, manage stress, anxiety and difficult emotions and manage shortness of breath
  • Keep your windows open to let in fresh air, get natural sunlight if you can by spending time in your garden if you have one
  • More information on staying healthy and active as you get older
  • Have a contingency plan to support you in case of an emergency
  • Scams – Be aware of scams. For further information visit Trading Standards
  • Look out for volunteering opportunities – Use your interests and passions to help others, you can still do this virtually even whilst you are staying at home
  • Relaxation - Use relaxation techniques such as breathing or meditation exercises. Some people prefer to listen to their favourite music or use visualisation techniques and find a place where you feel calm, confident and in control
  • It is important to keep up to date with news coverage to get updates about the virus but keep this in balance and limit the amount of news you take in if it bothers you. Always view trustworthy sources such as the NHS, Government, Local Authority and the World Health Organisation
  • Visit our information on winter wellbeing for information on keeping safe and well this winter.

Ideas to stay occupied

Isolation can be boring and frustrating. It can affect your mood and wellbeing.  Here are some useful tips on how to stay occupied if you find yourself needing to isolate.

  • Speak to friends and family over the phone, letters, email, contact face to face virtually – range of virtual platforms available
  • Do things that you enjoy - reading, cooking, indoor hobbies, watching your favourite TV show, listening to the radio, DIY
  • Join a virtual film / book club
  • Join your local Dudley libraries and explore their online catalogue from ebooks to audiobooks and DVDs
  • Virtual art gallery and museum tours via National Gallery, Tate Art and V&M museum or try something more local Discover Dudley
  • Spend time doing things you have been putting off - paperwork, have a spring clean (household and electronic!), learn a new skill, or try online learning
  • Podcasts such as Apple podcasts, Player FM, Stitcher, Audible, Podcast player, Google Podcasts and Acast offer a wide range of subjects for you to listen to and enjoy.
  • Set yourself a daily goal so you feel like you have achieved something. At the end of the day think about a good thing that has happened that day
  • Keep a daily schedule of who to contact so you can speak to a different person each day
  • Visit lets-get.com, your local website for healthy lifestyles or sitting, home based and strength exercises
  • Sport England have collated a range of online resources to help you stay active indoors and outdoors for older people, pregnant women, families with children and people with health problems or a disability
  • Digital skills – we have become more reliant on technology and online services over the course of the pandemic. If you find it challenging to do the things you want online (shopping, healthcare appointments, staying connected with family and friends, banking, sharing photos etc), help is at hand. Get linked up with a local digital buddy. Contact Chris Fletcher at Just Straight Talk on 01902 256744 or email chrisf@juststraighttalk.org.

Mental health support

If you or someone you know is feeling anxious or worried about Coronavirus, there is further information on Dudley MindMental Health.org and Let's Get Healthy Dudley. 

If you are feeling lonely and isolated the NHS responders offer a Check in and Chat service call 0808 196 3646 (8am to 8pm, everyday) or visit https://nhsvolunteerresponders.org.uk/

Dudley Talking Therapy Service

This service is for those that are registered with a Dudley GP, who need support for problems such as; sleep issues, generalised anxiety, low mood, worry, stress, low resilience etc.

They offer a range of therapeutic support options, including group therapy, 1-1 support, guided self-help in the form of Silvercloud, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Interpersonal and Dynamic interpersonal Therapy and Counselling.

There is a dedicated Perinatal priority pathway, supporting pregnant women and new moms with babies up to the age of 12 months.  They also support people who have a long-term health condition which contributes to their mental health concern.

Complete the online self-referral form at -  https://www.dihc.nhs.uk/find-a-service/dudley-talking-therapy-service  

Or Call on 0800 953 0404 - 9 to 5 Monday to Friday

To watch a video about the service visit https://www.ease-the-load.org/  

Clients are usually contacted within 3 working days to arrange an initial assessment.

This is a primary care service, those identified as not being suitable for the service, will be signposted or referred on as appropriate.

If you are registered with a GP outside of Dudley, talk to your GP to find out what services they have on offer.

If you are experiencing more serious issues, there is a 24-7 mental health support line which is available for Black Country residents of all ages provided by Black Country Healthcare Foundation Trust

      • Call 0800 008 6516
      • Press 1 if you live in Sandwell or Wolverhampton
        Press 2 if you live in Dudley or Walsall

For further information and practical tips on looking after your mental health:

Accessing healthcare

  • If you need medical help, the NHS is still here for you. It’s important not to delay seeking held if you have symptoms that you are worried about.
  • If you need medical help from your GP practice, contact them either online, by an app or by phone. Many patients can be assessed over the phone or through video consultation without having to attend the practice but your GP will see you face to face if required.
  • If you need urgent medical help, use the NHS 111 service either online or by calling 111.
  • If you are experiencing symptoms of a serious or life-threatening emergency such as a heart attack or stroke, call 999.
  • It’s important that babies and children continue with their routine immunisations and that pregnant women still attend antenatal appointments. If you have concerns about your mental health you can contact your GP or key worker. If you are stressed or anxious you can get advice from the NHS.
  • You can order repeat prescriptions online or by telephone without having to visit your GP.
  • You should continue to attend your GP and hospital appointments, unless you have been told not to attend.
  • In primary care and in hospitals the NHS is taking stringent precautions to protect patients – and staff – from catching coronavirus, for example by having far fewer patients in waiting areas to ensure social distancing and by ensuring all staff and patients are wearing face masks.

For further information on how to get NHS help.

Helplines and more information to support you

Access to essentials

  • You may be able to enlist family, friends or neighbours to do a shop or pick up prescriptions for you
    • Morrison’s 0345 611 6111 press 5 – there is a charge for delivery, they operate 7 days a week and can usually do next day delivery. Call with your shopping list, the only food they will not do for telephone orders is fresh sea food and frozen desserts. There is a 5 item minimum order. They will take a card payment over the phone.
    • Sainsbury’s vulnerable people service - 0800 917 8557 press 1- there is a charge for delivery. Call Monday to Friday for delivery within 2 days. All store items are available. You will need to register for an account but they will do that over the phone too. They will take a card payment over the phone.  
  • NHS Volunteer Responders can pick up your shopping and/or medication and deliver it to you call 0808 196 3646 (7 days a week 8am-8pm). They also provide a check in and chat service
  • Pleased to Meet You- If you are age 60+ or younger with a specific need i.e. physical and/or sensory disability, dementia or learning disability, you can contact Dudley Council’s Pleased to Meet You support service on 01384 812761 Mon to Fri, 9am to 4pm, they can provide help with arranging grocery shopping or medicine supplies and regular telephone chat if you’re feeling lonely or isolated

Adult social care services

If you use adult social care services and 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

Other support

If you have been recently bereaved, then you may find some support information via Let’s Get and the council's bereavement services

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.

NHS Volunteer Responders can pick up your shopping and/or medication and deliver it to you call 0808 196 3646 (7 days a week 8am-8pm). They also provide a check in and chat service

Pleased to Meet You - If you are age 60+ or younger with a specific need i.e. physical and/or sensory disability, dementia or learning disability, you can contact Dudley Council’s Pleased to Meet You support service on 01384 812761 Mon to Fri, 9am to 4pm, they can provide help with arranging grocery shopping or medicine supplies and time to talk services to help with social isolation

Scam awareness

  • 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
  • More information on Scams from Dudley Trading Standards

Information for informal carers

Advice 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. 

  • View the latest national advice for unpaid carers
  • Contact Dudley Carer’s Hub on 01384 818723 for advice and practical support. There are also lots of organisations who can provide support.
  • 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 1 metre plus 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
  • 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.
  • Carers can also access our virtual groups for carers, which take place via Zoom. There are a number of different groups depending on your situation, the sessions provide an opportunity to meet and chat with other carers, for more information contact the hub.
  • Our Young Carer Service is provided by Sandwell Crossroads, who can provide information, advice and support to young people who provide care to family member.  Please call 01384 886429
  • Carers are able to access PPE for Covid-19 related needs if they provide personal care to another individual.   Please contact Dudley Carers Hub for more information on 01384 818723 or email dudleycarershub@dudley.gov.uk

Pregnant women

There’s lots of information on a healthy pregnancy and breastfeeding support available at Let's Get Healthy and on the Dudley Group of Hospital’s website for pregnant women.

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.  The national recommendations are for all pregnant women to have the COVID vaccine.  Your midwife will discuss this with you during you antenatal care.  This leaflet also has lots of information.

When you are 28 weeks pregnant your midwife can sign you up to a free text service called Flo which will send you useful tips and information via text during your pregnancy and up to six weeks after your baby is born with. If you’d like to know more about Flo have a look at our introduction to Flo video

It is also recommended that pregnant women have the flu vaccine and one for whooping cough. The flu vaccination will help protect both you and your baby.  There is good evidence that pregnant women have a higher chance of developing complications if they get flu, particularly in the later stages of pregnancy.  The whooping cough vaccine protects babies and children from getting whooping cough. Again your midwife will discuss this with you during you antenatal care.

If you are pregnant it is important that you still attend all antenatal appointments and continue to seek advice from your midwife or maternity team.  Up to date information can be found on the Dudley Group Maternity Services Facebook page.