The information provided in this article is based on statements released by the World Health Organization, the Government, and the National Health Service, and is true at time of writing on the 18th March 2020. Please refer to the referenced websites for updated information.
If you read my last blog then you will know how important I think it is that we look out for our community and follow all guidance released to protect our health and the safety of others.
But I am also a Clinician, and while these challenging times are happening we cannot let clients’ care plans slip or lose sight of their usual needs. Individuals who needed specialist seating to manage their posture, encourage functional independence, promote optimum physiological function, and protect their health and wellbeing before coronavirus (COVID-19) will still need specialist seating.
It could be argued that now, more than ever, specialist seating is a vital piece of equipment for those most vulnerable individuals in our community to help maintain their health, wellbeing and quality of life:
- Individuals with respiratory compromise due to low muscle tone and/or poor postural control may need assistance to maintain an upright posture to promote optimum physiological function and maintain their health.
- Individuals with spasticity and/or abnormal spinal curvatures such as an increased thoracic kyphosis may need postural support to achieve some alignment and open up their shoulder girdle and chest.
- Individuals who are immunocompromised may require equipment that supports infection prevention and control measures to reduce their risk of becoming unwell.
- Individuals who do become unwell may require specialist cushions and tilt-in-space to achieve regular pressure redistribution and reduce their risk of skin breakdown during periods of prolonged rest.
Specialist seating is not just a chair – it is often a prescribed medical device. When used appropriately as part of an individual’s care plan, specialist seating can have a significant positive impact on quality of life.
CareFlex are here to support you when you need us – we are striving to keep offering our usual high quality services in the safest possible way. If you can no longer accept visitors then we can offer remote clinical and technical support. We also have a live chat representative available via our website during office hours. Our website has a range of useful and educational material, such as articles, videos and user guides.
Do not hesitate to call us on our free phone number 0800 016 8440 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss any seating needs and how we can help.
I want to finish with some important guidance to help inform as much as possible, including some hints and tips to help you take care of your health and protect others.
The World Health Organization advises on the following basic protective measures1:
- Wash your hands frequently
Regularly and thoroughly wash your hands with soap and hot water. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser if that’s all you have access to.
- Maintain social distancing
Social distancing measures are steps you can take to reduce the social interaction between people. This will help reduce the transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19)2;
- 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 large 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.
- Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth
Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body.
- Practice respiratory hygiene
Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze; then dispose of the used tissue immediately.
- Stay informed and follow advice
Stay informed on the latest developments about coronavirus (COVID-19). Follow advice given by your healthcare provider, your national and local public health authority, or your employer on how to protect yourself and others.
Our Government has released the following guidance for individuals with suspected coronavirus (COVID-19)2:
- The most common symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are;
- Recent onset of a new continuous cough
- And/or high temperature (fever)
- If you have these symptoms, however mild, stay at home and do not leave your house for 7 days from when your symptoms started.
- If you live with others and you are the first in the household to have these symptoms, then you must stay at home for 7 days, but all other household members who remain well must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days.
The NHS also has a wealth of advice online3 as they have advised not to go to a pharmacy, GP surgery or hospital if you have suspected coronavirus (COVID-19). There is a dedicated NHS 111 online service to help you determine what actions you should take and tell you what support is available:
The NHS has made it clear that everyone should do what they can to stop coronavirus spreading. It is particularly important for people who:
- Are 70 or over
- Have a long-term condition
- Are pregnant
- Have a weakened immune system
You do not need to call NHS 111 to go into self-isolation2. If your symptoms worsen during home isolation or are no better after 7 days, use the NHS 111 online service (if you have no internet access, you can call NHS 111). For a medical emergency dial 999.
Take care of yourself and your loved ones!
Remember, we are still here if you need us.