Could you be there to care during a pandemic?


Uncertain times, unprecedented challenges. We all have a role to play.

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Could you be there to care during a pandemic?

Question 1 of 6.

PPE conundrum

Support workers have been told they need to wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) at all times when they are supporting people. However, Ellie is struggling to adjust and getting increasingly anxious because she can’t see people’s faces. Now the support worker who she has developed a close relationship with is currently shielding so you are taking her place.  What do you do to reassure Ellie?

Briefly hold your breath and take your mask off when you meet her for the first time to show her your face. It’s only for a few seconds and it will make it easier for Ellie to get to know you.
Remind Ellie that she’s going to have a few different people supporting her and they will all be wearing the same so she will get used to it soon.
Tell Ellie your name and show her a picture of yourself on your mobile phone so she knows what you look like. Reassure her that the PPE may look a bit frightening but it’s to keep both you and her safe.

Although it’s tempting to remove your mask for a couple of seconds to reassure Ellie, it is against the guidelines set out by Government to keep everyone safe. However, PPE can look quite intimidating and everyone can look very similar, so introducing yourself and sharing a photograph is the next best alternative to help someone get to know you.

Question 2 of 6.

In the know

Bella has autism and experiences heightened anxiety. She’s heard about the coronavirus outbreak and is feeling really scared. How do you reassure her?

Encourage Bella to discuss her concerns and share easy read resources to provide more information about the outbreak and keep her informed about steps she could take to keep healthy and well.
Tell Bella there is nothing she needs to worry about, and everything will return to normal again soon - there is no point frightening her and making her more anxious.
Tell Bella everyone is feeling scared and suggest she stays inside at all times so that the chances of her getting the illness are reduced.

It’s important to keep people you support informed, while providing enough reassurance to prevent them from panicking. Use accessible resources to strike the right balance, as they’re a great way of sharing information in a way that allows people you support to stay informed but not become overwhelmed during a stressful time.

Question 3 of 6.

Isolation issues

Carly, who has difficulty communicating and is in one of the most at risk groups from Coronavirus, has made it clear that she intends to go out to the shop. What do you do?

You're really concerned about the risk to Carly's health. Be firm, tell Carly she cannot go out – it’s for her own safety.
Carly is an adult and therefore it’s up to her. Under government guidance, she is allowed to go out. Ultimately we should respect her choice.
Do all you can to find out Carly's reasons for wanting to go out and try to accommodate her request without risking her health. If she’s still adamant she wants to go out, seek advice from your manager.

It's really important for her safety that Carly stays at home. By taking the time to understand why Carly is so keen to go out, you can prevent her from risking her own health. Perhaps she wants a particular item from the shop that could be ordered, or that you, or another member of staff, could get for her instead?

Question 4 of 6.

Staying connected

Alex is very close with her large family, who usually visit her every Sunday and sometimes during the week too. She’s worried and upset that she may not be able to see them all as much for quite some time. How do you respond?

Explain the situation and reassure Alex that these are temporary measures to keep her safe. Explore whether any personalised technology is available that might help Alex keep in touch with family.
Let Alex know that lockdown will probably by lifted soon, so she can visit them now if she wants – a couple of days won’t make much difference.
Tell Alex that unfortunately she won’t be able to see her family as much for some time but it’s for the best and will keep everyone safe.

It’s important that Alex sticks to the rules and stays away for her family as long as is needed to keep her safe. As well as providing reassurance, being a support worker is all about finding creative solutions to make a difficult time that little bit easier. Using Personalised Technology, you can make sure people you support are still able to stay in touch with their loved ones. For example, a big button phone with images of her family would enable Alex to call her family independently whenever she wants.

Question 5 of 6.

Helping with hobbies

Hassan is very sociable and thrives on spending time with others. He is out and about in the community several times a week taking part in a range of activities, from basketball with friends to choir practice. The structure of a daily routine is very important to him. He’s struggling to adjust to social isolation and the changes to his daily routines. How would you help him?

Try to replicate the routines that are important to Hassan by exploring opportunities that are available. Maybe Hassan could join activities like choir practice virtually, or perhaps a basketball hoop could be set up in the garden?
Your hands are tied and unfortunately everyone is facing similar problems. There isn’t anything you can do to help the situation so Hassan will have to wait for things to return to normal.
Encourage Hassan to create new routines - perhaps he could take up another hobby?

Although the pandemic has made it more difficult to support people to do the things they love in their usual ways, with a bit of creative thinking you can achieve a lot! Alternative solutions that use technology or maximise space already available are a handy way of supporting people to continue with their hobbies. 

Question 6 of 6.

Long distance love

David, who is currently having to shield, has a girlfriend who he met through a dating service for people with learning disabilities. He’s missing her and their weekly date attending the local pub quiz. He is keen to meet up. What do you suggest?

Explain that things will be different for some time and suggest the pair go on a break until they’re able to see each other again.
Encourage the couple to explore different ways of keeping in touch and put together a quiz for them to take part in together via video call.
Let them meet up for a couple of hours while strictly enforcing their social distancing – it would boost their spirits.

David needs to follow the medical advice he's been given, but his relationship is an important part of his life, and this should be respected. To help the couple stay in touch, support David to use technology to contact his girlfriend and maintain his routines.

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