COVID-19 Advice

It is important to us, as your Corporate Parents, that you are safe and that you have all the information and support that you need during this difficult time.

We understand that you might be feeling anxious or overwhelmed about coronavirus (COVID-19). That’s completely normal; many of us are feeling the same way, and you are not alone.

So, with this in mind, we’ve pulled together a big list of useful information and guidance to help you through the outbreak:

Full guidance on what you can and cannot do during this time is available on the government website.


The information that we’ve put together on this page is relevant to children in care and care leavers. For further guidance on coronavirus and the latest information on the situation in Devon, visit Devon County Council’s coronavirus (COVID-19) advice page.

The Learning Disability Devon website is an easy read website for people with learning disabilities in Devon and includes information about coronavirus (COVID-19).


Keeping in touch

We will continue to contact you, as we usually do, but this contact can be more regular if you want it to be. Just let us know.

Our Participation Team will also be using different online platforms to stay in contact with you, either individually or in groups.

Unfortunately, due to the new lockdown, we’ve had to cancel our face-to-face sessions until the restrictions are lifted. But don’t worry, we’ve got some great virtual events taking place instead. From the week beginning 11 January, we will be running the following weekly virtual groups:

  • Children in Care (10-15yrs): every Tuesday, 4pm to 5.30pm
  • Care Leavers (16yrs +): every Thursday, 5.30pm to 6.30pm (the first care leaver group will be 21 Jan because we are running the Life Stories focus group during the first week instead)

If you want to join any of these groups and events, or would like to find out more, please get in touch with your locality participation worker directly. You can also contact us via Instagram or Twitter.

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I’m worried, who can I contact?

Don’t worry, we’re here. If you have any question or need advice and support, please contact your personal advisor or social worker, or speak to the duty worker.

Here are the duty team contact numbers:

If you can’t contact them, please email corporateparenting-mailbox@devon.gov.uk.

You can contact Kooth for free, safe and anonymous online support and counselling.

And if you have any worries about your mental or physical health, you can also speak to a member of the Children in Care and Care Leavers nursing team. Call them on 03300 24532 (ask for a Child in Care Nurse) or email cfhd.devonchildrenincare@nhs.net.

Other support for your mental health and wellbeing

Devon’s Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) are offering additional 24/7 telephone support. Please contact 03300 245 321 during normal hours (8am-5pm, Mon to Fri) or 0300 555 5000 outside these hours.

Young Devon provide information, advice and counselling for children and young people over 11. If you need to talk to someone, please email wellbeingenquiries@youngdevon.org. Anyone already receiving support through Young Devon’s Wellbeing service should email yes.exeter@youngdevon.org or call 07935364652 and leave a message with your name and contact details.

The ChatHeath text line allows young people aged 11-19 a place to talk completely confidentially with a school nurse about any worries or concerns they may have. Text 07520631722.

Young Minds have a range of help and advice, including advice for young people about how they can look after their own mental health.

Childline have a similar advice page on how to cope during the pandemic and also offer a free counselling service online or over the phone.

Meanwhile, the NHS Every Mind Matters website has tips to help if you are worried about coronavirus and how to look after your mental wellbeing while staying at home – you can even make your own Mind Plan.

The NHS has also produced a mood self-assessment tool to help you better understand how you’ve been feeling. And if you become aware that you would like to talk about how you are feeling, mental health helplines can provide support.

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How will the coronavirus effect the care or support I receive?

Coronavirus means that there could be some changes to the way you receive support. For example, some meetings might have to take place virtually, or you might need to speak to another member of the team if your regular contact person is ill.

Those supporting and caring for you will be doing their best to make sure you get the help you need. But if you’re really worried about a particular problem and you don’t feel you’re getting enough support, please talk to us.

Support from you PA

Your PA is still available to support you, and they’ll always aim to meet face-to-face with you if it’s safe to do so. But, if that’s not possible, they’ll arrange a video call or speak to you over the phone.

Your PA will call you before any face-to-face meet ups, too. So, please let them know if you or anyone you’ve been in contact with has coronavirus symptoms, and they’ll arrange another way to meet.

Your PA can also support you to book a COVID test and can help you get online and stay in contact with friends and family.

If you’re worried about changes to your employment and feel that your accommodation could be at risk, please contact your PA or their duty service worker.

Support from other professionals

Other professionals will have similar rules about meeting face-to-face.

If you need a dentist or GP, it’s best to contact your local surgery to find out how they’re providing services.

Hospitals are also still open, although some planned treatments may be postponed. Your medical professional will let you know if this applies to you.

If you’re feeling very unwell and don’t have GP, please decide if you need to attend A&E.

And if you have any difficulty accessing services or getting in touch with people, please contact your PA or their duty service worker.

Support from friends and family (support bubbles)

If you live alone or are a single parent with children under 18, you can maintain close contact with some of your friends and family by forming a support bubble with one other household.

There’s no cap on the size of the household you bubble with; it might be just one other person, or it could be several – just so long as they’re all living under the same roof! But once you’re in a bubble, you can’t switch and start another with a different household.

Forming a bubble means that you can stay overnight at each other’s homes and visit outdoor places together. And you don’t need to socially distance from other members of your bubble.

If anyone in the bubble is contacted as part of Test and Trace, they themselves must stay at home. But if they then develop coronavirus symptoms, all members of the bubble must self-isolate.

Where possible, your bubble should be local to avoid unnecessary travel. And if you live in a house-share, please be aware that you’re only allowed one bubble per house. That means that if your housemate has already formed a bubble, you can’t form a new one of your own.

One last thing to note is that children can move between homes if their parents are separated.

Support bubbles are different from childcare bubbles.

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What about school, college or university?

Schools, colleges and universities will be closed to most young people, with learning delivered online instead.

Early Years and childcare services, such as childminders and nurseries, will remain open.

Universities

The government has asked universities and colleges to make sure that care leavers get the support they need during the coronavirus outbreak. This should include guaranteed access to appropriate accommodation, continued access to financial support, access for a named contact and access to student support services.

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How will this affect my work or benefits?

The Government advice is that if you can work from home, you should, but this isn’t possible for everyone. You might be worried about being able to continue working or accessing benefits if you can’t work. The Government has announced new plans to make it easier for people to claim sick pay and get benefits, and there’s lots of good advice online.

Here are some useful links:

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I feel fine, what should I be doing?

You must stay at home except for the essential reasons (listed above). The single most important action we can all take is to stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives.

When you do go outside, make sure that you try to stay 2 metres away from other people where possible and, if you’re over 11, make sure you follow the guidance on face coverings. And remember to wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds as soon as you get home. Also try not to touch your face. If the virus is on your hands, this is how it can travel into your body.

Some people are ignoring this advice, which is dangerous as they could be spreading the virus even if they are feeling ok. This means more people get sick and the hospitals get even busier. And the police can now give a fine to anyone breaking the rules.

 

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I feel unwell, what should I do?

If you have any of the coronavirus symptoms, including a high temperature or a new, continuous cough, you should get a COVID test and self-isolate for 7 days (the NHS website tells you how to do this).

Please tell whoever is supporting you, such as your personal adviser or social worker (e.g. by phone, text or however you would normally contact them outside of face-to-face meetings), if you are unwell or self-isolating as soon as possible so we can come up with a plan to best support you.

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Someone I live with feels unwell, what should I do?

If someone you live with has any of the coronavirus symptoms, you should get a COVID test and self-isolate for 14 days from the day their symptoms started (or until the test confirms a negative reading). This is because it can take 14 days for symptoms to appear. If more than 1 person at home has symptoms, self-isolate for 14 days from the day the first person started having symptoms.

If you get symptoms, self-isolate for 7 days from when your symptoms start, even if it means you’re self-isolating for longer than 14 days. If you do not get symptoms, you can stop self-isolating after 14 days.

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What happens when I’ve finished self-isolating?

You must continue to stay at home except for the essential reasons listed above, and remember to follow the latest guidelines from the NHS to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

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Where can I find out more about coronavirus (COVID-19)?

It’s important you make sure you are using trusted sources of information. Just because a story appears online, doesn’t make it true. The internet is great, but it can also be used to spread disinformation in the form of misleading news and content. Make sure you stick to trusted sources of information, and before you like, comment or share online, use the SHARE checklist to make sure you’re not contributing to the spread of harmful content.

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Our top tips for you

The coronavirus (COVID19) outbreak is impacting everyone’s daily lives, especially as we enter this new period of national restrictions.

Here are our top tips to help you look after your physical and mental wellbeing:

Take a break from the news of social media – It’s really easy to feel overwhelmed by what you read, see and hear, so it’s a good idea to limit the amount of time you spend scrolling. Stick with trusted sources for information.

Talk to people – Keeping in touch with people you trust is important. You won’t be able to meet in person but make some time to catch up with friends and loved ones via phone, video calls or social media. Reducing physical contact doesn’t have to mean reducing social contact.

Share how you’re feeling – It is quite common to feel worried, scared or helpless about the current situation. Remember that this is a difficult time for everyone and sharing how you are feeling can help. If you don’t feel able to talk to friends or family, speak to your personal adviser or social worker or contact one of the NHS recommended helplines.

Stay active – Your physical health has a big impact on how you are feeling emotionally and mentally. It’s tempting to watch boxsets and eat junk food, but this can actually make you feel worse! Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, drink enough water, exercise inside where possible and outside once a day, and always make sure you keep 2 metres away from other people.

Do things you enjoy – Focusing on your favourite hobby, doing something new or simply taking time to relax at home can really boost your mood.

Make a plan – If you do find yourself with symptoms, or if someone else you live with develops symptoms, then you’ll need to stay at home for a short while. You can help reduce any worry by planning for this now – you might want to chat with the professionals supporting you about things like food shopping or setting up somewhere for you to work or study.

Get some sleep – Feeling anxious or worried can make it harder to get a good night’s sleep. Good-quality sleep makes a big difference to how you feel mentally and physically, so it’s important to get enough. The Every Mind Matters sleep page provides practical advice on how to improve your sleep.

And finally, keep in touch – we are here for you! – If you think you would like some extra help, advice or support, even if it’s just a chat, let us know. We are here for you. Either get in contact with your personal adviser or social worker in the usual way or call the duty worker.

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