Lanarkshire families and carers asked to help with patients in the community

 

People across Lanarkshire are being asked to help where possible with a loved one’s care to protect under pressure care at home services. The objective is to minimise service user and staff potential exposure to Coronaviris (COVID-19) and create vital capacity to assist those with the highest levels of medical need.

NHS services are currently facing unprecedented pressure due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

NHS Lanarkshire is already supporting more inpatients with Coronavirus than at any other point in the pandemic, with further significant increases projected over the coming weeks.

As a result, patient safety is being prioritised with patients being discharging as soon as they are medically fit to leave hospital in order to minimise the potential of them having any exposure to the virus in hospital.

This is being done with patient safety in mind to ensure their rehabilitation is continued in their home or a familiar setting.

Consequently, COVID-19 is presenting Care at Home services with increasing capacity challenges. Families and carers of those currently in receipt of home care are also being asked to help. Tasks may include dressing, cleaning and cooking if safe to do so.

Ross McGuffie, chief officer, Health & Social Care North Lanarkshire (HSCNL), highlighted the current pressures on Care at Home services and underlined how members of the public can assist.

He said: “Our relationships with people in both our communities are as crucial as they’ve ever been as unprecedented demand on our workforces becomes increasingly pronounced.

“To help us reduce this strain and focus on the most medically unwell, we are asking for the public’s help. We’re asking for family, carers and friends of someone in need of care at home to help out where possible and only if it is safe to do so.

“Family, friends and carers are being asked to help until current pressures recede. Where circumstances seriously change, service users or carers are asked to contact a member of their care team.

“Both partnerships are prioritising Care at Home services for the most vulnerable in our communities.

Val de Souza, chief officer, South Lanarkshire Health & Social Care Partnership (SLHSCP), said: “We faced significant challenges at the onset of this pandemic and these are again causing pressures across services.

This is being done with all patients’ safety in mind to ensure their rehabilitation is continued in their home or a familiar setting. Assessments of need may be completed in the community in an interim placement within a nursing or residential care home as well as at home.

“Our overriding objective is about protecting and saving lives. We are hugely grateful for the support of communities, working together with us.”

A simple to follow checklist has been developed to ensure people can safely help loved ones:

  • DO make sure you’re well before lending assistance, especially to an older person.

  • DO self-isolate if you’re experiencing any symptoms of Coronavirus Covid-19 and look after yourself.

  • DO consider others in your family or neighbourhood network who could offer help if you’re self-isolating.

  • DO phone a member of your care team immediately if you or a family member is in receipt of Care at Home Services and have symptoms. This will allow us to take steps protect the health of our workforce, and help reduce the potential spread of the virus to other service users.

Patients, service users (or a family member representing someone in receipt of services) are also being reminded to inform their health and social care professional if they have COVID-19 related symptoms by telephone, ahead of the visit.

This vitally important information will allow necessary steps to protect the health of the workforce while helping to reduce the potential spread of the virus to other patients and service users.

There have been a very small number of incidences of people not disclosing symptoms until the visit is taking place. Val de Souza continued: “It is vitally important that the public helps us to keep as many of our staff as safe as possible to ensure they can help our most vulnerable patients.

“We understand that this is a very anxious time for people, however everyone has a duty to minimise the spread of the virus and keep our staff safe so they can continue to care for people.”

Ross McGuffie added: “It is crucial that any symptoms associated with COVID-19 are disclosed before any of our staff visit so that they can protect themselves, and others, accordingly.

“People will still receive a service, however it’s vital they do tell us so staff can prepare accordingly.”