Patient and Client Council - Understanding the Impact of Shielding Restrictions in Group Living Environments

For those living or working in nursing homes, residential care homes, supported accommodation, or those with family members/loved ones resident there.

Dear Stakeholder,

The health, social and economic impact of COVID-19 (coronavirus) cannot be understated. Our lives have had to change causing significant impact to individuals and their families who have been advised to ‘shield’ on account of their condition/s.

You, or someone you know, may have received a letter from your doctor or hospital clinician or advised by professionals within your residence that you are higher risk of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19; as such you need to be ‘shielded’*.    

Alternatively, you, or someone you know, may have been impacted by shielding restrictions applied to a 'group living' environment. In giving you this advice the priority has been to protect those most likely to be acutely affected by coronavirus and their families, in turn helping to protect the National Health Service (NHS). By applying this to everyone this has ensured equity for all affected.

We have adapted this survey to capture the particular experience of those in group living situations. This includes those who are resident in nursing homes, residential care homes, and supported accommodation units, those working with them and those with family members or loved ones resident there.

The Department of Health recognises that from your direct experience of shielding or the restrictions applied to your immediate environment, you have a unique insight into its impact and the measures required to support the transition from shielding to public engagement. As such, we kindly call upon your support with our consultation on this subject. The evidence and insights gathered will assess the level of impact that shielding has had and will inform the Department of Health on the key issues for consideration in planning the further easing of restrictions. The survey covers:

·  How you have been affected by shielding;
·  
What are the most important things to you;
·  
What support you have had to help you deal with the impact of shielding;
·  What measures of support are required  if you are advised to continue to shield in some way;
·  What information is needed to support you to safely ease the restrictions on shielding.

The study will be conducted through a self-completed survey. The report will outline key themes for consideration to assist the Department of Health.

It is estimated that this online consultation questionnaire will take approximately 15 minutes to complete. Alternatively you can:

·  
Download the questionnaire from our website here, print it, complete it and return it to us by email or post;
·  
Complete the survey over the phone by calling our Freephone number on 0800 917 0222; or
·  Participate in a facilitated online group session - please contact Laura Bonnes on 07881636320 or at laura.bonnes@pcc-ni.net

We thank you in advance for your time and responses.

*'Shielding' is the word used to describe how to protect those at highest risk of severe illness if they catch Coronavirus/COVID-19.  You can shield yourself and shield others by minimising all interaction between yourself and those who are most at risk.  

Those recognised at highest risk were strongly advised to stay at home as much as possible and keep visits outside their home to a minimum.

 
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