This guidance is for carers, friends and family members of elderly and vulnerable persons who are at higher risk of becoming severely ill from COVID-19.
Those affected also include residents of long-term care facilities for the elderly and people with special needs, as well as:
- Organ transplant recipients
- Cancers patients:
- undergoing active chemotherapy
- with lung cancer undergoing radical radiotherapy
- with cancers of the blood or bone marrow e.g. leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma in treatment
- having immunotherapy or other continuing antibody treatments
- having other targeted cancer treatments affecting the immune system, e.g. protein kinase inhibitors or PARP inhibitors
- who have had bone marrow or stem cell transplants in the last six months, or are taking immunosuppression drugs
Disease severity, history or treatment levels will also affect those in this group. If you require more information on risk levels, please contact your GP or hospital specialist.
Staying at home
People at higher risk of becoming severely ill from COVID-19 must take further preventative measures to avoid contracting the virus. If you are vulnerable, it is strongly advised that you stay at home when possible and keep outside visits to a minimum (e.g. once a day).
- If outdoors (though not in other buildings, households, or enclosed spaces) take extra care to minimise contact with others by keeping six feet apart.
- When outdoors, try and limit contact to members of your household. If living alone and spending time outdoors make sure you interact with a minimal number of people (ideally the same persons each time).
- Be alert when leaving home: wash hands regularly and maintain social distancing.
- Avoid gatherings of any size. These include gatherings of friends and families in private spaces, e.g. parties, weddings and religious services.
- Strictly avoid contact with anyone displaying COVID-19 symptoms (a new continuous cough, a high temperature, or a loss, or change in, your sense of taste or smell).
- Remain at home if you are uncomfortable meeting others. However, socially distanced time outside in the fresh air is likely to make you feel better.
Handwashing and respiratory hygiene
Please note the following steps to help prevent the spread of airway and chest infections caused by respiratory viruses:
- wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser. Do this after blowing your nose, sneezing or coughing, before eating/handling food, and immediately when returning home
- avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
- cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then ‘bin it’
- clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces in the home
Help with food and medicines
Ask family, friends and neighbours to assist you and use online services where available. Some pharmacies and shops offer home delivery and support.
Visits from essential carers
Essential carers or visitors who support you with your everyday needs can continue to visit unless they have COVID-19 symptoms. Essential carers coming to your home should follow advice on good hygiene.
If you are caring for someone who is vulnerable, here are some simple steps you can take to protect them and to reduce their risk:
- do not visit or provide care if you are unwell, make alternative arrangements for anyone you care for
- only provide care that is essential
- wash your hands when you arrive and often, using soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser
- cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
- bin used tissues immediately and wash your hands afterwards
- tell the person you are caring for about who they/you should call if they feel unwell
- look after your own well-being and physical health.
Read more on our Elderly & Vulnerable persons FAQs.