Coming out of lockdown: a COVID-19 update for families

Posted on the 12th May 2020

This week the Government has started to lay out a plan for how the UK can come out of lockdown and which aspects of people’s everyday lives can be reinstated. But this is a worrying time for parents or carers of children and young people with serious health needs. Indeed, many families within the WellChild Family Tree support group have expressed concerns about what this means for them.

So, what is going to change and when? This article attempts to provide some clarity on the Government guidance with information on how WellChild can help.

The guidance depends largely on which category of ‘clinical vulnerability’ your child is classified as:

Clinically Extremely Vulnerable

You will have received communication from the NHS notifying you of this status. See the Government guidance here.

  1. You have been advised to shield until 30th June 2020. This means you must stay at home at all times and avoid all non-essential face-to-face contact. As a family this means you should also avoid all but essential contact with anyone from outside of your home and stay within the home at all times, where possible.
  2. As we previously advised, we would consider care for your child to be essential to avoid you becoming exhausted and suggest that you follow our guidelines for how to manage carers in the home.
  3. Please consider using our Direct Response Service if you are experiencing any difficulties in obtaining PPE or need assistance with food, or prescription deliveries.
  4. The Government and the NHS are expected to make further announcements about this cohort of people before the end of June, but it is expected that you may be asked to continue shielding for a further period of time.

Clinically Vulnerable

You will not have received communication from the NHS, but may have chosen to ‘shield’ during the peak of COVID-19. Whilst the Government have advised that people in this category do not need to be shielded, you may feel that shielding is still appropriate for your family. If not, the Government advice is as follows:

  1. You should still stay at home as much as possible, but you can take short periods of exercise out of the family home, up to an hour a day.
  2. You should minimise contact with others from outside your household and maintain a 2m social distancing gap between yourselves and others wherever possible.
  3. The Government and Public Health England are continuing to gather data to better understand the particular groups who are significantly at risk of contracting and becoming severely unwell with COVID-19.
  4. Please do consider using our Direct Response Service if you are experiencing any difficulties in obtaining PPE, or need assistance with food/prescription deliveries.

Although the Government have published a plan, much of it still needs clarification and we expect that to follow over the coming days and weeks.

What we do know

  • Everyone should still be alert to the very real threat of COVID-19 and practice social distancing wherever possible.
  • Continue to wash your hands regularly.
  • It is now acceptable to drive to locations to exercise, to play sports with other members of your household and to spend unlimited amounts of time outside.
  • You can meet or exercise with one other person you know whilst outside in public places, as long as you are socially distancing and staying 2m apart.
  • You cannot play team sports with people from outside of your household and you cannot socialise indoors (including in gardens) with anyone who does not live in your household.
  • You should avoid public transport wherever possible and if you do need to spend time in enclosed spaces, such as supermarkets or on public transport you should wear a facemask. It is acceptable to wear a washable facemask; however, this should be washed after each use. Do not use masks on children under two years old.
  • Remember, the mask is used to protect others from you and not to protect you from contracting COVID-19.

How WellChild can help

  • We will keep you updated on any new guidance and developments as it unfolds.
  • We have produced advice and guidelines on keeping you and your child safe and also guidance for maintaining the safety of carers in your home.
  • We have a dedicated COVID-19 page with lots of advice and tips.
  • You can connect with other families across the UK going through the same challenges as you for mutual support, advice and friendship during this difficult time via the WellChild Family Tree support network.
  • We have a Direct Response Service and can help by delivering you essential PPE if you are struggling to get supplies, including uniforms for carers. We can also help with advice and practical support to get you food and prescription deliveries.

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