One of the feelings millions of us are experiencing during the current coronavirus pandemic is loneliness. In our combined efforts to stay safe and save lives, our usual ways of seeing family, friends or just familiar faces have been put on pause.
HOW LONELY ARE UK ADULTS FEELING?
According to a survey of UK adults which took place during lock-down (2 – 3 April), one in four (24%) said they had feelings of loneliness in the “previous two weeks”. When the same question was asked shortly before lock-down, just one in ten people (10%) said they had these feelings. In a matter of weeks, social distancing left millions more people in the UK feeling isolated.
Young people aged 18 to 24 were most likely to experience loneliness since the lock-down began. Before
lock-down, one in six (16%) said they felt lonely. Since lock-down, young people are almost three times more likely to have experienced loneliness, with almost half (44%) feeling this way.
HOW DOES LONELINESS AFFECT OUR MENTAL HEALTH?
Many of us feel lonely from time to time and these short-term feelings shouldn’t harm our mental health.
However, the longer the pandemic goes on for, the more these feelings become long-term.
Long-term loneliness is associated with an increased risk of certain mental health problems, including
depression, anxiety and increased stress. The impact of long-term loneliness on mental health can be very hard to manage.
WHAT CAN WE DO TO PREVENT LONELINESS?
The government is telling us to stay at home and only go outside for food, health reasons or essential work, to stay two metres (six feet) away from other people and wash our hands as soon as we get home.
That means we need to adapt how we connect with people and find new ways to stay in touch during this time. Now, more than ever, is the time to keep up those strong social networks that act like a buffer against poor mental health.
Staying in touch via video calls, Whatsapp or just regular phone calls, is vital. Keep up your routines where
possible – for example if you play cards with your friends on a week-night, try keeping this in the diary and
playing a game on a video call instead. Or potentially join one of the many online quizzes hosted on Facebook or Youtube, playing as a team.
If you’re not tech savvy, regular phone calls, messages or even writing letters are lovely ways to show someone that you’re thinking of them.
HELPING OTHERS WHO MIGHT BE EXPERIENCING LONELINESS
Three in four of the overall population, and about half of the younger population, have not been experiencing loneliness during lock-down according to the survey.* This shows great resilience during this time of isolation and shows that many of us are adapting our ways of keeping in contact with people. Doing good is good for our mental health, so now could a good opportunity to help someone else who might be feeling lonely.
One idea is to get in touch with someone who lives alone or might not have many relatives or close connections to check in on them. A message or a phone call could make a big difference to someone who hasn’t heard from anyone in a while.
If it’s a neighbour, you could even share something you’ve baked with them – at a safe distance! If you know someone who struggles with technology, now could be a good time to talk them through setting up something like Skype or Zoom at home. This could make a huge difference to their social interactions in future.
IT’S NOT JUST YOU
Remember, no one is exempt from feeling lonely at times. All of us, at some point or other during this
coronavirus pandemic, will feel cut off from our loved ones. However, some of us will have greater access to technology than others, or more social connections.
By caring for each other, checking in on people who are more isolated, or even volunteering for a helpline, we can help prevent a loneliness epidemic.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE FEELING LONELY
• Try calling a friend, family member, health professional or counsellor to talk about your feelings.
• You could also contact Samaritans, call: 116 123 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org if you need someone to talk to.
• Join an online group or class that focuses on something you enjoy – that could be anything from an online exercise class, book club etc.
• Consider going for short walks in public places (while keeping a two metre distance).
This is a challenging and sometimes lonely time, but it will pass. There will be lots of hugs, shared pots of tea, parties and celebrations in the future. For now, let’s be as kind as possible to ourselves and others.
Information from: www.mentalhealth.org.uk
Dear Friend of Rivendell,
Preparing for a second Coronavirus spike
With a potential second coronavirus spike and more local lockdowns on the horizon, Rivendell Care & Support are preparing on how best to continue to protect our Service Users and Care Workers.
This week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson was challenged about preparations for a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic if the disease rebounds in the winter.
It comes less than a month after Leicester was plunged into the UK’s first local lockdown following a coronavirus spike in the city.
Infection prevention and control
Infection prevention and control (IPC) is a scientific approach and practical solution designed to prevent harm caused by infection to patients and health workers. It is grounded in infectious diseases, epidemiology, social science and health system strengthening.
We are constantly ensuring that all care workers are up to date with online training with Infection prevention and control, as new practices and findings are being developed during the pandemic. Care Workers have online access to our policies and procedures that are constantly being updated.
Rivendell continues to have a good source of PPE (personal protective equipment) including; gloves, face masks, hand sanitizers, aprons and face shields, which are a one use item when carrying out different tasks at a service user. We ask each care worker for a weekly stock update to ensure that there is a constant supply.
Covid-19 and the use of gloves
As part of the guidance from Public Health England in relation to coronavirus gloves must be:
Disposable gloves are single use and must be disposed of immediately after completion of a procedure or task and after each Client, followed by hand hygiene. Care must be taken not to touch the face, mouth or eyes when wearing gloves.
It’s important that vaccines are given on time for the best protection; the NHS is still continuing to provide this service. If you think you are due a vaccine, please contact your GP. This could include: Pneumococcal (PPV) vaccine, Flu vaccine or Shingles vaccine.
We highly recommend that our Service Users and Care Workers continue to have regular health check ups.
Government Guidelines for the most vulnerable
We suggest continuing to follow the Government guidelines especially for over 70 year-olds and vulnerable people.
Wearing Face Masks from the 24th July
Wearing a face covering in shops and supermarkets in England is to become mandatory from 24 July.
Those who fail to comply with the new rules will face a fine of up to £100, the government has announced.
Children under 11 and those with certain disabilities will be exempt.
The list of exemptions has not yet been published, but the rules for face masks on public transport exempt anyone who cannot wear one “because of any physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability”, who would experience “severe distress” from doing so, or relies on lip reading, among other reasons.
Rivendell will continue to monitor this on a regular basis and update you accordingly.
If there is anything else we can help you with please do not hesitate to contact the office.
Our very best wishes,
The Rivendell Care and Support Team
Juliette, Joshua, Camille and Pallavi
COVID-19 has been a huge challenge for the care sector, and the last few months have been something never experienced before.
Social care has been at the forefront of the UK’s struggle against COVID-19.
Unlike other areas of the economy, unable to pause or to work in relative comfort at home. Care providers, from executives and owners, through to care workers themselves, have continued to keep these vital services operational.
Countless frontline heroes have and continue to go way above and beyond reasonable expectations of their duties, to keep the people they care for safe, well and as happy as possible in the current circumstances.
There have been some universal challenges within the care sector. One of these, as you can imagine is sourcing a good supply of PPE (personal protective equipment). Rivendell can proudly say that we have always had a good supply with reliable sources and you should be reassured that our main priority was to make sure we continue to keep our service users and care workers safely protected at all times.
The other major challenge I personally feel that has arisen in this crazy time is the concept of ‘shielding’ and the wanting and missing of family members and friends. It is so unnatural for the human race to not be greeted with a handshake, a hug or even a kiss from a family member or grandchild.
When much of the country is now returning to some level of normality, with high street stores re-opening and restrictions on socialising being relaxed ever further. Many care providers like Rivendell are in the same position and will be asking how and to what extent they too should prepare for a return to normality.
For the meantime, we are still following government guidelines. If you are over 70 or vulnerable we would ask for you to still respect the ‘shielding’ process.
People classed as clinically extremely vulnerable are advised to take additional action to prevent themselves from coming into contact with the coronavirus (COVID-19). If you’re clinically extremely vulnerable, you’re strongly advised to stay at home as much as possible and keep visits outside to a minimum (for instance once per day).
The current ‘Shielding’ advice is:
1. If you wish to spend time outdoors (though not in other buildings, households, or enclosed spaces) you should take extra care to minimise contact with others by keeping 2 metres apart.
2. If you choose to spend time outdoors, this can be with members of your own household or you may choose to spend time outdoors with one person from another household (ideally the same person each time).
3. You should stay alert when leaving home: washing your hands regularly with soap and water or hand sanitiser, maintaining social distance and avoiding gatherings of any size.
4. You should not attend any gatherings, including gatherings of friends and families in private spaces, for example, parties, weddings and religious services.
5. You should strictly avoid contact with anyone who is displaying symptoms of COVID-19 (a new continuous cough, a high temperature, or a loss of, or change in, sense of taste or smell).
6. Although single adult households can form a ‘support bubble’ with one other household, people who are clinically extremely vulnerable are advised not to be part of a support bubble.
The government is currently advising people to shield until 31 July 2020, but gradually easing protection advice in the interim period, and is regularly monitoring this position.
If you are wondering ‘would I or a family member fall into this category?’ You can follow this up to date link from the government website. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19#parents-and-schools-with-clinically-extremely-vulnerable
Of course Rivendell will monitor this on a regular basis and update you accordingly.
We truly hope for a brighter future where we will all reach some sort of normality again and we really appreciate your cooperation and patience in keeping you and your loved ones safe.
Our very best wishes,
The Rivendell Care and Support Team
Juliette, Joshua and Camille
Further interesting links/articles:
During the COVID-19 pandemic there have been many changes made to our day-to-day running’s at Rivendell. You maybe aware that we have had a zero policy on family members visiting service users that live outside of the home unless you have been completely shielding.
We understand that this is a sensitive and uneasy situation but believe keeping our service users, as well as care workers protected is of the upmost importance. We thank you for your patience and understanding during this surreal situation that we are all going through. (03/06/2020)
UPDATE: We have had zero COVID-19 cases for our service users, this has been managed by strict hand hygiene and by all of our care workers having updated ‘Infection Control’ refresher training, good supply of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) which has included gloves, face masks, aprons and full face shields. New uniforms have been issued to our care workers, which will help assist in infection control. This has only been possible from the strict measures carried out by both our clients/families and care workers.
One Rivendell care worker has had COVID-19, with no symptoms. How did we deal with this? We arranged for the service user to be immediately tested from home and thankfully was tested negative of the virus. All care workers working with this particular client and on the same team were asked to wear full PPE, which included a hasmat suit.
Shopping: During the pandemic we have been offering an additional service to go food shopping for those unable to arrange this themselves. This includes going to supermarkets or arranging meals on wheels. If this is something that you would be interested in please do not hesitate to contact me to arrange this.
Limited availability: We have limited availability in the North West London area if you are interested in receiving care or increasing your care hours. Please get in touch for more information – 02084347380 (20/06/2020)
CQC INSIGHT REPORT
NHS Covid-19 INFORMATION
WHO AND HOW TO GET TESTED
TEST AND TRACE
KINDNESS, CARING & COVID19
STAYING SAFE OUTSIDE YOUR HOME