Guardian Carers Feature on BBC News London

Coronavirus guide for clients: how to keep safe

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The recent coronavirus outbreak has been affecting people all over the globe. In the UK, the number of cases is still growing on a day to day basis. If you are experiencing symptoms, contact your GP by phone. If you need a carer or know someone who needs support being looked after, search for carers here.

The coronavirus is a flu-like virus which affects the lungs. The symptoms of coronavirus start with a fever, which is followed by a dry cough. This can then lead to breathing difficulties. One of the other common symptoms includes shortness of breath.

The symptoms of coronavirus usually start to show within 5 days of contracting the virus. Some people who may have the virus may even start experiencing symptoms later on. The latest government advice says that people with a high fever or those who are coughing should self-isolate for 7 days at home.

The ones who are most affected by the coronavirus are the elderly and people with underlying health conditions. At this time, if you find yourself in any of those categories, you may be thinking about how best to protect yourself or any other vulnerable loved ones. In this article, we will explain what you can do in order to keep yourself or your loved ones safe during the coronavirus outbreak and what measures you and the carer can take.

Coronavirus precautionary measures you need to take for your loved ones

If you have an eldelry family member, the best thing to do in order to protect the ones most vulnerable in your life, your elderly parents or grandparents, is to practice social isolation. When you are outside, at work or in public transport, you may be contracting viruses which you do not want to pass on to your elderly loved ones. If you are experiencing symptoms, simply self-isolate at home. If your job position allows you, work for home.

While you may not know you have contracted a virus - you may be asymptomatic - your elderly family will be more vulnerable to such threats and will get ill easier. In order to limit their exposure to this novel virus, you should avoid home visits. Try to schedule video calls instead and keep in touch with them daily by telephone.

More than this, aim to follow the NHS health advice:

  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water
  • If soap is not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser
  • When coughing, use a tissue and then dispose of it
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands
  • Avoid close contact with other people such as shaking hands or kisses on the cheeks
  • Avoid close contact with people who are not feeling well
  • Clean contact surfaces such as door knobs, sink taps, cupboard doors, tables, chairs with alcohol-based solutions daily
  • Limit unessential social contact
  • Limit the time you spend outside, in public transport or taxis
  • If you planned to travel outside the country, postpone your travels
  • If you have symptoms such as fever or cough, self-isolate at home
  • Ask delivery persons to leave parcels in front of the door
  • Do not go outside for any unessential errands
  • Do not go to the grocery store - have your groceries delivered instead

Even if you will stop visiting your elderly loved ones, keep in contact daily. It’s essential that you are aware of their daily life and any health updates.

Coronavirus health advice you need to take if you are an elderly person

Especially if you are within a vulnerable age group, you need to follow the same health advice as everybody else, such as washing your hands often and not touching your face. Furthermore, you need to:

  • If you have symptoms, such as fever or cough, you should self-isolate at home
  • Do not accept family or friends visits
  • Avoid close contact with other people such as shaking hands or kisses on the cheeks
  • Avoid close contact with people who are not feeling well
  • Clean contact surfaces such as door knobs, sink taps, cupboard doors, tables, chairs with alcohol-based solutions daily
  • If you are an active person, who enjoys to go out, you should now avoid public spaces
  • Postpone running unessential errands
  • Arrange for their groceries to be delivered at your door and do not have close contact with any delivery person
  • Monitor any changes in your health and update you and your family doctor
  • Take your temperature daily
  • Keep hydrated throughout the day
  • Maintain a healthy diet

If you are showing any symptoms which may be linked to the coronavirus, then you must notify your family immediately. The next step is speaking to the family GP over the phone. Do not go to see your GP in person, nor go to the A&E department. Instead, visit the NHS website for further information.

Coronavirus precautionary measures the home carer should take

If you have carers which come into your home to look after you and support your daily life, you should aim to inform them of every measure they need to take in order to keep themselves safe and yourself too. If you are hiring through an agency, such as Guardian Carers, make sure the agency is keeping their carers informed with coronavirus health advice.

Here is what you can do to protect both yourself and your carer:

  • Ensure that soap and alcohol-based hand sanitiser is available in the home
  • Clean contact surfaces such as door knobs, sink taps, cupboard doors, tables, chairs with alcohol-based solutions daily
  • Brief the carers about the safety precautions they can take before coming in to your home, such as washing their hands before seeing you or avoiding hugs and kisses on the cheek
  • Advise the carer to self-isolate if they are feeling unwell
  • The carers and yourself should not spend time outside for any unessential errands
  • Have groceries delivered at home and advise the carer to not get into contact with the delivery person
  • The carer to keep a close eye on your health, as well as their own - they should monitor the temperature on a daily basis
  • Ask the carer to limit the visits other people make to the home

Guardian Carers believes in the safety, security and protection of both our clients and our carers. Our carers have been informed of the coronavirus precautionary measures they should take to protect themselves and the ones they are caring for.

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