What is Social Distancing?
Social distancing helps us cut down on the number of social interactions we have, whereas self-isolation is far more strict and is currently only for people who themselves or the people they live with have symptoms (see self-isolation and Government ‘Stay at home guidelines’ for households)
Who has to socially distance?
Social distancing advice applies to everyone and those with increased risk of severe illness from coronavirus (COVID-19) are being advised to be particularly stringent in following the measures.
Government are advising that we all:
- Avoid contact with someone who is displaying symptoms of coronavirus (COVID -19).
- Avoid non-essential use of public transport, varying your travel times to avoid rush hour, when possible.
- Work from home, where possible.
- Avoid gatherings, and gatherings in smaller public spaces such as pubs, cinemas, restaurants, theatres, bars and clubs.
- Avoid gatherings with friends and family. Keep in touch using remote technology such as phone, internet and social media.
- Use telephone or on-line services to contact GPs or other essential services.
How are people with a learning disability affected by social distancing?
People with a learning disability, with or without an underlying health condition, have been assessed as being at high risk of severe illness.
This affects everyone Thera supports and many people will also be older and or have an underlying health condition.
This means that for everyone we support the government is strongly advising that they stringently follow social distancing measures. This will be incredibly difficult for some people to understand, accept and follow.
We have created accessible information, videos and tools to help. However, for many people, as in other aspects of their lives, will require the help of family, friends and the teams that know them well to help them cope day to day and make decisions in their best interests.
Can people have visitors in their homes?
Everyone is being asked to avoid having gatherings at home and unfortunately this will affect some people’s lifestyles.
The Government has not provided guidance on how many people constitute a gathering but we would recommend that events such as birthday parties, coffee mornings, etc are avoided.
Also, talk through other arrangements for people visiting people’s homes so gatherings don’t unintentionally occur i.e; 3 sets of families visit at once.
Will building based Day Opportunities/Hubs/Cafés remain open?
These settings bring groups of people together and because people with learning disabilities have been identified as higher risk then as such we feel we must stop such activities for the time being. Managing Directors and senior teams will be working with Local authorities and people supported to close and staff these settings should close, at least temporarily.
It might be possible to continue to provide essential support activities in other ways e.g., individually in people’s own homes, walks outside, meal deliveries. Any continuation of services will need to be negotiated and agreed with funders and local authorities.
We will need to consider a range of options for staff who work in these settings. They might carry out their work differently eg; providing phone or on line support. Other options include needing to be asked to work somewhere else temporarily, use annualised hours, agree a period of unpaid leave etc. We think these closures will be temporary and will work with colleagues to agree what happens throughout this period.
Helping people stay in touch with friends and families
Many people we support will already call and skype relatives or use social media. If they don’t these methods could help people keep in touch with families and friends.
Please support people to consider and arrange these options using normal process to support people to make decisions around purchases.
Will planned health appointments change?
Yes. You will need to contact GPs and health centres by phone or on-line. Be aware that non essential appointments and operations will be postponed. Check with GPs and consultants about planned appointments for people
Last updated: 20 March 2020, 7:21pm