How do we take care of children on the shielded patient list?

The coronavirus crisis has brought out the best and worst of us as a society. On one hand we have seen multi-billionaires ask the Government to bail out their businesses or refuse to pay their staff, while some members of the public and shops tried to exploit the public by flogging essential items at obscene prices.

These hideous acts have made our blood boil, but there have been several acts of kindness that have made our hearts melt. We have seen communities come together like never before. People are looking after their elderly and vulnerable neighbours, making sure they have enough groceries, swapping phone numbers and applauding the heroics of our NHS workers. We have also seen more than 500,000 people volunteer to help the NHS in its moment of need.

As part of the Government’s plan to keep the public safe and prevent the spread of coronavirus, thousands of letters have been sent out to the most vulnerable sections of society, asking them to self-isolate for 12 weeks. The shielded patient list, as it is officially known, has around 900,000 patients on it, with issues ranging from cancer, those on immune suppression therapy and people with severe respiratory infections. The aim of shielding is to stop extremely vulnerable people coming into contact with coronavirus (COVID-19).

These measures include:

  • Strictly avoiding contact with someone who is displaying symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) like a high temperature or a new and continuous cough.

  • Not leaving your house and do not attend gatherings, whether it be with families or friends.

  • Not go shopping, and continue to keep up good hygiene of washing your hands thoroughly and ensure that any visitors wash their hands too.

Isolating yourself and your family from the outside world for 12 weeks is a tough ask, but it is one that is essential in order to keep yourself safe and prevent the NHS from being overrun. In order to achieve this, you must stay at home. It is as simple as that. However, you will have concerns about how you will access groceries and essential medicine.

You need to, if you haven’t already, ensure you have a strong support network around you. Friends, family, neighbours or care workers who can deliver the essentials to your door, ensuring you stay safe and stay indoors. Make sure you create a list of essential numbers to contact, which is easily located by everyone in the household. If you are part of a community WhatsApp group, great. Someone is sure to kindly help. If not, you can go on Facebook and ask local groups for assistance. Social media, for all its flaws, has seen a huge rise in community spirit since the lockdown was introduced and should be embraced in order to keep us engaged, entertained and educated.

Whether you have your shopping delivered by friends, neighbours or a delivery driver, get them to knock on the door, step away and wait until you answer and bring the goods inside. Make sure your hands are washed before and after collecting your shopping and, as an extra precaution, you can wear gloves to bring in your shopping.

If you require visits from those who provide essential support, such as healthcare, personal support with your daily needs or social care, you should continue to let them in. However, please ensure that carers and care workers are not showing any signs of coronavirus. If they are, ask them to stay away.

Your carer may be well-known to you, but, in the event of them not being able to attend your home, you need a list of alternative people you can contact for assistance. Your local council will be able to assist with support and advice at this time.

If you think you, or a member of your household, have developed symptoms of coronavirus, such as a new cough or fever, call NHS 111. You should also contact your medical team. Do not go to your local GP.

If your child is on the shielded list

Children who fall into the vulnerable category will need to be kept entertained and you should do all you can to keep their mind off the situation. They will also have to keep up with their education. In terms of entertainment, there are thousands of movies and cartoons that are available on demand and there are plenty of physical and virtual games you can play. You can even get creative and invent new games to pass the day.

Try and shield your children from the news if possible. The coronavirus crisis is a depressing one, one that’s only going to get worse according to the Prime Minister Boris Johnson, so try and ignore the news until they are in bed.

In terms of education, your school should be arranging tasks on a regular basis through their own intranet system. If you can help them with these tasks or allow them free time to draw and play, that will help them to relax and have fun. If they are not being assigned work, ask them to get counting, write words, set them questions to find online. Do anything you can to satisfy their thirst for learning.

Having fun at this moment in time is critical for youngsters. This is a strange situation for everyone, but especially for children who may have been in a routine of going to school, playing with friends, going to sports classes at the weekend and seeing their grandparents on a regular basis. Now they are confined to their home and not allowed out. That is a huge swing change and it’s a lot to ask of them. They may not understand the magnitude of the situation, but you don’t want them to overwhelm them with it either. The next few months are going to be tough, particularly when the sun comes out.

For now, everyone must do their bit and stay indoors. It’s the only way of staying safe and keeping the NHS from getting overrun.

Parental Choice helps working families secure care solutions for their children and elderly relatives, all backed up with a comprehensive payroll, pension and legal team.

We also work with small and large businesses to support the wellbeing of parents and those with eldercare responsibilities.  |  020 8979 6453

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