We've created some guides about coronavirus.
Most of these are accessible and easy read format so can be read by or with people with a learning disability to help them understand the latest advice and guidance around the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
Take a look at the headings below and see the links to relevant guidance beneath.
Going to hospital
These guides also explain what may happen when some people get very poorly with coronavirus and die, as well as information and advice about funerals, grief and bereavement.
It is very important to remember that this doesn't happen very often. Most people who have coronavirus will get better.
This letter from NHS England and NHS Improvement is about the Clinical Frailty Scale and that it should not be used for patients with a learning disability or autism.
Rights to healthcare
We've created this guide to explains the rights of people with a learning disability when accessing healthcare during the coronavirus outbreak.
If you are concerned that someone's needs are not being met speak to the hospital learning disability nurse or safeguarding team.
If you need help, contact the Learning Disability Helpline.
Changes to care
We've created some letters for you or your support worker to use to contact your local supermarket and find out when their priority shopping hours are, and if they can provide support with your shopping:
Keeping clean and handwashing
Guidance posters from Keep Safe
Keep Safe have produced some easy read materials to help explain the government's guidance on coronavirus, including:
- new rules for June
- update for people who are shielding
- how to stay safe
- rules for May to June
- face masks.
Frequently asked questions
We've created answers to some frequently asked questions around coronavirus for people who care for a person with a learning disability (including support workers and family carers).
Click the questions below to reveal each answer. You can also download a copy of these questions and answers here.
Some people with a learning disability or those who are carers will be in a group of people that are 'extremely vulnerable'.
This means that they may be more at risk from getting very ill from coronavirus (COVID-19).
Who may be more at risk of coronavirus (COVID-19)?
People who may be more at risk are:
- people who are aged 70 or older (regardless of medical conditions)
- people who are under the age of 70 with a specified, underlying health condition (for adults, this usually means anyone told to get a flu jab as an adult each year on medical grounds)
- pregnant women.
What can I do right now in case I can't support the person I care for?
Carers should create an emergency plan with the person they care for, to use in circumstances where help from other people to deliver care may be needed.
Depending on the circumstances, this could be help from family or friends, or a care provider.
Some useful things to include are:
- the name, address and any other contact details of the person you look after
- who should be contacted if you cannot care for the person due to illness
- details of any medication the person you look after is taking
- details of any ongoing treatment they need
- details of any medical appointments they need to keep
- an up to date hospital passport.
You should also ensure that the emergency plan is in a format that can readily be shared with other people who need to discuss the plan with the person you care for.
You may be able to arrange help and support from family and friends, but it can be reassuring to have the involvement of your local authority or healthcare provider in case informal arrangements fall through.
What is a hospital passport?
A hospital passport is a document that gathers lots of essential information about the person you care for.
It can include lots of the information mentioned in the section above, but also has details of any reasonable adjustments that need to be created so that the person you can care for received equal healthcare.
You passport can include lists of what a person likes or dislikes. This might be about the amount of physical contact the person is ok with, how the person shows they are in pain as well as other details such as what they like to eat.
The passport helps all the hospital staff know how to make the person feel comfortable.
If the person goes into hospital, the hospital passport should go with them. The passport tells the doctors and nurses that they should make a copy and put the copy in your hospital notes.
The hospital passport should hang on the end of the hospital bed, so that anyone treating you can take a look at it.
What should I do if the person I care for has COVID-19 symptoms and I am not in the extremely vulnerable category?
If someone in your household has symptoms you should follow the stay at home guidance from the Government.
This says that if you live alone and you have symptoms of coronavirus, however mild, you should stay at home for 7 days from when your symptoms started or until you are better (whichever is longer).
If you live with others and you are the first in the household to have symptoms of coronavirus, then you must stay at home for 7 days, or until your symptoms have gone, but all other members of your household who remain well must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days.
The 14 day period starts from the day when the first person in the house becomes ill. For anyone else in the household who starts displaying symptoms, they need to stay home for 7 days from when their symptoms appear (or until their symptoms have gone, whichever is the longer) regardless of what day they are on in the original 14 day isolation period.
However, we appreciate following the stay at home guidance may not be easy where you provide close contact care, such as washing or bathing, for a person with a learning disability.
If you do not fall in to the clinically 'vulnerable group' or the 'extremely vulnerable group' you can continue to provide care. You should review the guidelines to take measures to protect yourself and others in the household as best you can by following advice on hygiene and distancing where possible.
What should I do if the person I care for has COVID-19 symptoms and I am in the extremely vulnerable category?
As per the guidance for clinically extremely vulnerable groups, you should avoid contact with someone who is showing symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19).
Where possible, ask someone else (e.g. friends or family) who can support you with providing care, for their help.
You should distance yourself from the person you care for as much as possible and follow the above guidance.
If you cannot organise alternative care you can contact your local authority or healthcare provider. If you do not know how to do this then you can contact NHS 111. It may also be helpful to contact you local carers support organisation (you can find out about local carer organisations at Carers UK).
How can I protect myself and the people I care for?
You can protect yourself and the person/people you care for by:
- socially distancing: stay away from people outside of your home as much as you can. If you must leave the house for an approved reason then stay at leave 2 metres away from others.
- wash your hands regularly: wash with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- ask for assistance: ask family members or friends to collect medicine and food wherever possible. Supermarket deliveries would also be of benefit.
How can I safely care for someone I do not live with?
If you are caring for someone who falls into the clinically 'extremely vulnerable' category for risk of getting very ill from coronavirus (COVID-19), there are some simple steps that you can take to protect them and to reduce their risk.
Ensure you follow advice on good hygiene, such as:
- only care that is essential should be provided
- wash your hands when you arrive at the home of the person you care for and often thereafter, using soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser
- cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
- put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards
- do not visit if you are unwell and make alternative arrangements for their care
- provide information on who they should call if they feel unwell, how to use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service and leave the number for NHS 111 prominently displayed.
Should I wear a facemask when I leave the house?
We've created the following easy read guides and social stories to help understand and explain face coverings:
Information from other organisations
You might find it useful to take a look at some information and resources relating to coronavirus (COVID-19) from other organisations.
Easy read information on protecting people most likely to get very poorly from coronavirus (from Public Health England)
Coronavirus guidance for carers (from Carers UK)