Calderdale Council’s FAQs for vulnerable residents

Here’s a lengthy FAQ document sent out by Calderdale Council to help all its vulnerable residents.

Are you in need of additional support? Contact us at:
Our website – https://www.calderdale.gov.uk/v2/coronavirus-covid-19/support-extremely-vulnerable
If you don’t have internet access you can call 01422 392890.

These frequently asked questions (FAQs) have been developed to help people understand what help and assistance is available during these difficult times. It is targeted at those who may be more vulnerable to the disease itself or the disruption it causes.

General FAQs

Who might be vulnerable to COVID-19?
People can be vulnerable to the effects of COVID-19 for a number of reasons. Some people are vulnerable to the disease itself. These are people who have serious medical conditions which make them more likely to get unwell if they catch COVID-19. Others are vulnerable due to the disruption caused by the disease. People who rely on carers, people with limited support from family or friends, or people with limited access to internet services may be affected more by the changes in everyday life caused by COVID-19. Some people may be vulnerable to both the disease itself and to the disruption caused by the disease. Although there has been a focus on the elderly and those with medical conditions, many other people feel vulnerable to the effects of COVID-19. If you, or someone you know, are in need of practical support during this time, see below for details of how the council and partners can help.

What does ‘Shielding’ mean?
The Government has identified 2 groups of people who are likely to be at increased risk of complications from COVID-19. At highest risk are those identified as ‘extremely vulnerable’ who have been added to the shielding list. These are people with any one of a number of specific conditions who have been (or will shortly be) contacted by the NHS. These people should receive a letter giving them further instructions on what to do and will also receive a phone call from the council to identify any help required. It is important that people who receive this letter follow the shielding guidance which means staying at home, avoiding any gatherings and strictly avoiding contact with anyone displaying symptoms of COVID-19. The criteria for shielding are decided nationally so it is not possible to influence these locally. If you think you should be on the shielding list but haven’t received a letter please contact your GP who should be able to offer some advice.

Conditions which mean someone should follow the shielding guidance:
1. Solid organ transplant recipients.
2. People with specific cancers:
– people with cancer who are undergoing active chemotherapy
– people with lung cancer who are undergoing radical radiotherapy
– people with cancers of the blood or bone marrow such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma who are at any stage of treatment
– people having immunotherapy or other continuing antibody treatments for cancer
– people having other targeted cancer treatments which can affect the immune system, such as protein kinase inhibitors or PARP inhibitors
– people who have had bone marrow or stem cell transplants in the last 6 months, or who are still taking immunosuppression drugs
3. People with severe respiratory conditions including all cystic fibrosis, severe asthma and severe chronic obstructive pulmonary (COPD).
4. People with rare diseases and inborn errors of metabolism that significantly increase the risk of infections (such as Severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID), homozygous sickle cell).
5. People on immunosuppression therapies sufficient to significantly increase risk of infection.
6. Women who are pregnant with significant heart disease, congenital or acquired.

There is a second group of people identified as vulnerable who don’t meet the criteria for shielding.

This group includes anyone over the age of 70 and those under the age of 70 who would usually be invited to have the annual flu jab. This includes people with a range of medical conditions including heart disease, diabetes and
certain lung conditions. Some people who aren’t identified as being on the shielding list have chosen to follow similar guidance and limit their risk of catching the virus.

Whether you are on the shielding list or not you can request support from the council by contacting us at:
https://www.calderdale.gov.uk/v2/coronavirus-covid-19/support-extremely-vulnerable
 01422 392890

Who is vulnerable due to the disruption caused by the disease?
Everyone will be affected in some way by the disruption caused by COVID-19. These changes may mean it is difficult to carry out our usual activities. Some people may have family and friends who can help but others may not have anyone to ask for assistance. People may be affected for many reasons including the following:
  • Any households with a new continuous cough or a high temperature should stay at home entirely for up to 14 days (also known as household isolation).
  • As discussed above, people who have been identified as extremely vulnerable should follow shielding guidance and should not leave their home.
  • We should all be staying at home to minimise contact with others unless we are leaving the house for work, to shop, to get medical care, or to exercise (also known as social distancing).
For some people, these changes will have a much bigger impact. Many people with disabilities will be less able to reduce contact with others due to ongoing care needs. Activities such as visiting the supermarket or pharmacy might be more difficult and being asked to stay at home might lead to social isolation. For families, having to isolate might lead to difficulties in providing food for children or in continuing toprovide care for vulnerable relatives.

What help is available and how can I access this?
It can be difficult to know how to access help during this time. Many people who have never needed help before may need help due to the disruption brought about by COVID-19. If you need advice or assistance, you can contact the council. A system has been developed to provide a single point of access to a wide range of services so regardless of what you need the council should be able help. If you have access to the internet you can complete the form here and someone will be in touch. If you don’t have access the internet you can call 01422 392890.

Requests for help will be allocated according to need. Those with a higher level of need will be dealt with by our social care team. Those with a lower level of need will be passed to the volunteer hub where volunteers from across Calderdale will be tasked with providing the necessary help. Examples of help available include shopping, collection of medications, a friendly phone call, dog walking, posting of mail and more.

We are working closely with the voluntary sector to ensure that offers of support from voluntary and charity organisations are accessible to those in need. A directory of local support is available at:
https://www.calderdale.gov.uk/v2/sites/default/files/Directory-of-Local-Support-Groups.pdf

If you do not have internet access, the volunteer hub can link you in to groups in your area. Call 01422 392890 to register for help.

What other help is available?
In addition to the help offered by the council, a range of other organisations are able to offer support.
  • Citizens Advice Bureau offer a range of advice on financial and benefits advice – see www.calderdalecab.org.uk/ or call 0300 330 9048 for details.
I’m worried about shopping for food – can I get help?
If you’re not able to leave the house to shop, not able to access online shopping and don’t have friends or family to help with shopping, help is available through the council. For those identified by the NHS as extremely vulnerable and advised to follow the shielding guidance, a food delivery system has been developed. For those who aren’t shielding there is a range of support available through the council dependent on need. Across Calderdale there are a number of food banks providing food to those in need. The council is currently exploring how to meet dietary requirements. Cash handling advice is available on the council website and a directory of local shops, many of whom can deliver, is also available at
www.calderdale.gov.uk/v2/coronavirus/community-support
If you need help please contact the council here or call 01422 392890.

I’m worried about access to medications – can I get help?
If you are unable to visit the pharmacy to collect regular medications there are a number of ways you can access help. Contact your pharmacy to see if they can deliver directly to your home. The council volunteers can also help with delivery of medications to you. Contact the council here or call 01422 392890.

I have other health needs – what should I do?
It is important to remember that although COVID-19 is a significant concern, other health problems should not be ignored. If you need to see your GP, phone to make an appointment. You should not go to your GP without an appointment (this is particularly important if you are shielding). If you are unable to contact your GP the NHS 111 service is available online or via the phone. In an emergency, call 999 for help. Please don’t ignore medical problems which you think are important or urgent.

I’m worried about going into hospital – what should I do?
It is important to get medical help if it is needed. Hospitals are working hard to protect patients who don’t have COVID-19 who need to go to hospital. You may wish to think about what you would want to happen to you in hospital. Hospital passports are a useful way of giving the doctors and nurses all the information they need to care for you, especially if you have particular needs or preferences. (Add link to hospital passports)

FAQs for those receiving care

I receive help from a home care agency – will this be affected?
People who need the support of carers will continue to receive this support. The council have been working with home care providers to give them up to date information based on the latest national guidance. Contingency planning has been carried out to keep services such as this going throughout the COVID-19 response so that if your regular home care worker is not available an alternative care worker will be provided.

I live in a care home – will this be affected?
The council have been working with care homes to provide up to date information based on the latest national guidance. Contingency planning has been carried out which includes advice and support on infection control and provision of sufficient Personal Protection Equipment (PPE).

I am a recipient of Direct Payments – will this be affected?
This has been a particularly concerning time for recipients of direct payments with personal assistants. Many people employ their own personal assistants leading to concerns not only about the virus itself but obligations as an employer. Contingency planning has been carried out to ensure recipients of direct payments are supported throughout the COVID-19 response. Personal Assistants can be provided with ID to verify they are a keyworker and are also able to access Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Should a Personal Assistant not be available to provide care because they are unwell, are having to isolate due to household illness or have been advised to shield, they should still be paid. The council will fund the cost of a replacement Personal Assistant. Please contact Michelle Neville-Cooper at Calderdale Council on 01422 392766 for further advice.