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carers and confidentiality

Covid-19 (Coronavirus) - Keeping safe and well

COVID-19 is an illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It's caused by a virus called coronavirus.

This page will be updated regularly with information and guidance for patients, carers, friends and family.

Our staff understand that these are worrying times and that you and your loved ones will have lots of concerns, particularly about your loved ones. We understand those concerns and are here to help you throughout it.

The latest information on symptoms of Coronavirus infection as well as advice on looking after yourself and what to do if you are a carer can be found on nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/.

As a Trust, our top priority remains the safety of our patients and staff and as the Covid-19 situation continues to evolve we are working with NHS England and our staff to ensure that we are working in line with Government guidance. This means that in order to reduce face to face contact we may make changes to services and to patient care. We will only do this to protect our patients and staff and to ensure the whole NHS system works together to protect those whose need is greatest. Please click here for the latest information.

Where possible we will try and use alternative ways and methods for appointments with our community patients. For our outpatient appointments we will try and undertake these appointments using the use of technology including telephone, Facetime or Skype calls.

Where an appointment is non-essential or can wait we may also defer the appointment in discussion with you to avoid the need of you having to come to a clinic with other people.

If you have any concerns then please do contact the team or your allocated care coordinator.

A number of voluntary groups across South West London are offering their help to those who are unable to leave their homes during this difficult time. We have compiled a list of voluntary groups across Wandsworth, Merton, Richmond, Sutton and Kingston and have also included contact details for those services if you need them. You can find a full list of volunteer services pdf here (152 KB) .

You can find lots of helpful information and guidance:

Support in a crisis

If you need mental health support in a crisis you can call our 24/7 Mental Health Support Line on 0800 028 8000. The Mental Health Support Line offers emotional support and advice to people who are affected by urgent mental health issues, at any time of the day or night. It is open to everyone: both children and adults of all ages, and to people who haven’t previously accessed mental health services.

Please only attend A and E if you have an emergency with your physical health. The Mental Health Support Line can help and direct you to the right service for your mental health.

If you are already a patient (adult or young person under the age of 18) at our Trust, between the hours of 9am-5pm Monday to Friday we encourage you to call the mental health team that looks after you. You can find their contact details here. Otherwise, please contact the 24/7 Mental Health Support Line.

If you are calling urgently from a partner agency and require support and direction, you are encouraged to also contact the 24/7 Mental Health Support Line.

If you are Deaf, you can call our Mental Health Support Line using Sign Live Video Relay Service (VRS):

  • On a computer, go to https://signlive.co.uk/login/ and register using Facebook, Google or email
  • On phone, iPad or tablet download SignLive’s app for free and register

You will then be able to call the Trust for free.

Visiting Restrictions

Visiting is suspended until further notice.

The only exceptional circumstances where one visitor – an immediate family member or carer – will be permitted to visit are listed below:
  • A parent, carer, or appropriate adult visiting your child.
  • The patient is receiving end-of-life care.

Please find other ways of keeping in touch with your loved ones in hospital, like phone and video calls. We will help with this wherever we can.

Everyone should follow the expert national guidance on social distancing and self-isolation, staying at home wherever possible, to help limit the spread of coronavirus, protect the most vulnerable people in our communities and our NHS.

Family and Friends are asked to not visit even in the above circumstances if they:
  • Should be self-isolating
  • Are unwell, or have a fever or cough
  • Are vulnerable or aged 70+
  • Are aged less than 12 (except with the ward manager’s permission)

Information for patients on Clozapine

If you are on clozapine it is important to continue to take your medication. There is no evidence to suggest that being on clozapine would make you more at risk from Coronavirus.

If you are not well, please let your clozapine clinic know before you attend the clinic for your blood test. They will talk through with you if you need to come in or if we can send you a small additional supply of your medicine until you are feeling better.

In some circumstances we may be able to visit you at home to carry out your blood test.

Symptoms – what to look out for

The most common symptoms to keep an eye out for are either:

  • a high temperature – you feel hot to touch on your chest or back
  • a new, persistent continuous cough – this means you've started coughing repeatedly

If you experience either of these you should stay at home and self isolate.

You can find out more about symptoms and what to do here

How to protect yourself and others

What to do if you have symptoms

  • Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.
  • You do not need to contact 111 to tell them you're staying at home.
  • Testing for coronavirus is not needed if you're staying at home.

Staying at home or self isolating

If you have symptoms, stay at home for 7 days

If you live with other people, they should stay at home for 14 days from the day the first person got symptoms

If you live with someone who is 70 or over, has a long-term condition, is pregnant or has a weakened immune system, try to find somewhere else for them to stay for 14 days.

If you have to stay at home together, try to keep away from each other as much as possible.

Read the NHS advice about staying at home.

Urgent advice: Use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service if:
  • you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home
  • your condition gets worse
  • your symptoms do not get better after 7 days
Use the 111 online coronavirus service (Only call 111 if you cannot get help online).

It is particularly important for people who:
  • are 70 or over
  • have a long-term condition
  • are pregnant
  • have a weakened immune system

Leisure and keeping occupied

Over the coming weeks we will be spending more time that we generally do at home. Having so much unstructured time can be hard to fill, particularly at a time of worry. Right now it is really important that we look after our mental welling as best we can and find some respite and diversion from the news and media coverage.

With this in mind, we have assembled some uplifting and hopefully enjoyable resources for you explore.

We hope you find something that suits you!

Managing a routine and daily living at home

Having a basic routine of looking after ourselves and our home environment is something a lot of people say really helps with keeping their mental health on an even keel. Having some structure and daily routine at home can be difficult at the best of times, particularly if we are feeling low in mood, preoccupied with worries, or tired. But right now, with the added restrictions on going out and not being able to do our usual activities it is a particularly challenging.

With this in mind, we have brought together some resources that you might find helpful over the coming weeks.

Hopefully it will not be for too long, keep safe and keep connected to others if you possibly can, that will help!

Useful resources

Information and ideas for children and families

Coping with social distancing and isolation can be extra challenging for families with children and young people. Children and young people may struggle with understanding why their lives and routines are changing and why they can’t see their friends and extended family. Keeping a routine and structure for them may be especially important to help them feel safe and secure. This section will provide some information and ideas for children and families about the corona virus and ideas for coping at home whilst in lockdown.

Useful resources

Information and resources for carers

Information and resources for older people

With the coronavirus spread, older people are one of main vulnerable groups so it is particularly important to heed the guidance.

The various restrictions that have been put in place, ranging from the closure of important services such as day care, to the prohibition of visits to care homes affects older people more than most, particularly those with dementia and their carers.

As such we hope that you find the guidance and resources below helpful.

General Guidance and information: Sources of emotional and practical support: In addition to contacting your allocated healthcare staff in the trust

Guidance for family carers
    The guidance on social distancing provides a very real dilemma for concerned family carers who would normally provide regular face to face support to their vulnerable elderly relative. Clearly this is a ‘best interest’ judgment call which will involve weighing up the risk of exposing the elderly person to the virus versus the risk of neglect or harm as a result of their care needs not being met.

    In the latter case, if the person’s care needs are such that any remote support will not be sufficient, the family carers should adhere to the social distancing guidelines ie washing hands immediately on arrival, no physical contact, keeping a distance of 2m wherever possible and keeping visits as short as possible.

    Information and advice or people with learning difficulties

    People with learning disabilities may require information in an easy read format to help them understand the current and frightening situation surrounding COVID-19 and being in ‘lockdown’.

    The following information supports the learning disability population understand the information in a format that uses pictures and easy to read language. Other useful resources

    Safeguarding and Covid-19: Keeping everyone safe

    COVID-19 is an extremely challenging situation for everyone.

    Families are under increased amounts of stress due to financial pressures, household isolation, school closures and lack of normal outlets for stress and frustrations.

    Adults are at increased risk of financial exploitation by some pretending to help under the guise of ‘COVID kindness’.

    Children, young people and adults who are already at risk of abuse or neglect may be more at risk as the normal support mechanisms for them are not in place. Many children and adults may be struggling without the regular contact and support they get from friends, workmates or school.

    Self or household isolation could mean some people are trapped in their homes with abusers and isolated from people who can help them.

    Here are some useful contacts and websites you may find helpful at this time.

    Are you experiencing domestic abuse? You are not alone. If you’re worried about a child, even if you’re unsure, contact the NSPCC’s professional counselors for help, advice and support. For free, confidential advice and support for any child or young person under 18 years, whatever the worry. MIND: Mental health support with specific advice on ‘Coronavirus and your wellbeing’ YoungMinds: Supporting children and young people and their parents/carers with their mental health and wellbeing.
    • Specific advice on managing self-isolation and anxiety about coronavirus here.

    ICON: Babies cry: You can cope

    Other useful websites and resources