Coronavirus – health and wellbeing
Coronavirus - health and wellbeing
Coronavirus is a health issue in itself and is having a knock on effect on mental health and well-being for many children and parents. This section also covers what parents need to know about how the health and therapy services their child would normally use are operating during the COVID-19 period.
Coronavirus health advice
Testing for coronavirus has been extended and is now open to anyone over 5 who has symptoms, although essential workers including carers have priority for testing. Find out more about who is eligible and how to request a test. If you have a child under 5 who develops symptoms, call NHS 111 for advice. Children returning to school can also apply for a test, along with any members of their household.
If your child’s condition does not improve after 7 days or symptoms worsens, you should contact NHS 111
If your child or you are in this group you should have had a letter or been contacted by your GP by Sunday 29 March 2020. If you are unsure contact your GP or your child’s specialist to check, but if you are sure you or a member of your household should be on the extremely vulnerable list you can self-register online even if you never had a letter.The register of people who are extremely clinically vulnerable (the NHS Shielded Patient List) will not be closed down despite the changes on 1 August. If the infection rate goes up again in the future, this list will be used to identify who needs advice on extra measures to take.
See here for more information about shielding if anyone in your household needs to do this. This guidance was updated on 5th June to advise that people who are shielding can choose to spend sometime out of doors in a careful way. From Monday 6 July, those shielding from coronavirus can gather in groups of up to 6 people outdoors and form a ‘support bubble’ with another household. And from 1 August people who are shielding can return to work or school, with appropriate safety measures in place. Although the advice is to maintain very careful social distancing, hand hygiene etc. View Mencap’s Easy Read guide to shielding changes from 6th July [1mb].
People who are highly vulnerable to coronavirus and their families can call on NHS volunteer responders to help them stay safe and well at home These volunteers can deliver medicines, shopping and other supplies, as well as making calls to check in on those isolating at home. If your child is in this extremely vulnerable group you can also get local help from your local Community Hub:
People self-isolating with suspected coronavirus symptoms will also get regular check-ins from a new NHS 111 online messaging service launched on Saturday 4 April 2020. Once individuals have been through the online assessment, daily texts will be sent to those who have registered their Covid-19 symptoms and left contact details. Depending on the duration of their isolation, the daily messages will check how people are and ensure that those who need help to get them through that period, receive it.
Self-isolating has additional challenges if you are a carer, especially for sole-carers. Unpaid carers can now request to be tested for COVID-19 if you have symptoms and suspect you have it, so you can find out if you need to self-isolate or not. Find out how to get tested here. Think about writing an emergency plan just in case you are unexpectedly unable to continue caring if you become really ill. Carers UK have good tips about how to do this. And don’t hesitate to ask for help with practical things like shopping whilst you are self-isolating. There are new community groups offering neighbourhood help.
See Covid Brighton & Hove, the new directory of local help which includes both longstanding community groups and the new Covid-19 mutual aid groups in the city.
See East Sussex Covid 19 Facebook group or search for your own more locally.
Some individuals and neighbourhoods are offering help via a #viralkindness postcard that has taken off nationally. And Amaze has set up a version of this card that enables neighbours to offer particular help to families who have a member with additional needs.
If friends, neighbours or a local community group are not able to give the help you need you can contact the Community Hub to ask for help
- This is a great children’s guide to coronavirus created by the Children’s Commissioner for England
- A social story
- National Autistic Society guides plain text and with widgits
- Easy read guides with widgits from a children’s hospital including one if you need to visit hospital with pictures of masks and eye shields
- A story to read with your child, available in English and 16 other languages
- Makaton films of useful signs and explaining social distancing and free Makaton resources
- BSL information updates
- Also see National Deaf Children’s Society
- Resources suitable for adults with learning disabilities
- Mencap – Easy Read guide to Coronavirus and other easy read resources here
- Coronavirus information in 45 languages
- Mencap’s Easy Read guide to shielding changes from 6th July
Remember, if you or your child has symptoms that suggest it could be coronavirus, do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital as you could pass the infection to others. Visit NHS 111 online or call NHS 111 if you need to speak to someone.
GP-led ‘hot sites’ are being set up around Sussex exclusively for any patient with Covid-19 symptoms. You may be directed to one of these by your GP practice or NHS 111.
You should contact your dentist for your child or yourself if you need to by phone. Don’t go to the surgery without an appointment. Dentists will still be doing some telephone consultations and prioritising urgent dental care.
If you have an appointment bear in mind things will look different as they will be using Covid-19 social distancing and hygiene rules. Treatments may be different depending on the staff and equipment available to the team at the time. The dental team may also be wearing different protective equipment to what you are used to seeing and you will want to prepare your child for this. Emergency treatment is available even if you have Covid-19 symptoms. You will be referred to a treatment centre equipped for this.
Seaside View child development centre are having to work differently for reasons of safety during the pandemic. Paediatricians, therapists and specialist nurses are offering support by telephone to families for urgent and high priority issues. They are not offering face to face appointments unless absolutely necessary. Most appointments will take place by telephone or video call if possible. If your child needs a face to face appointment, they will contact you by telephone before your appointment. They are taking new referrals if these meet the referral criteria. These will be added to their waiting list for initial contact. All face to face workshops and training sessions are currently postponed, but they are working on video and online alternatives.
For telephone advice, to respond to urgent queries and provide signposting you can contact Child Development Services using these contact details:
Reception Phone: 01273 265 780 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Community Paediatrics Phone: 01273 265 780 Email: email@example.com
Occupational Therapy Phone: 01273 265 806 Email: SC-TR.OTSeasideview@nhs.net
Physiotherapy Phone: 01273 265 763 Email: SC-TR.SSVPhysiotherapy@nhs.net
Specialist Nursing Phone: 01273 242 061 Email: SC-TR.SpecialistNursingSSV@nhs.net
Speech and Language Therapy Phone 01273 242 079 Please contact by phone, email contact is not available
Audiology Phone: 01273 242 072 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Read the latest information latest information on SEN interim arrangements here
School nurses are still able to offer confidential advice and support on a wide range of issues including behaviour, continence, sleep, healthy eating, self-harm, minor accidents and illnesses, and long term health conditions. You can text them on 07480 635423. Young people age 11-19 can also use this number to use the Chathealth service about any concerns or health issues.
Child development centre and therapy services have had to change how they work currently in response to the coronavirus situation. East Sussex services have told us that community paediatricians are aiming to review children by telephone rather than face to face where appropriate and start assessments by telephone, so that face to face assessments may take place later. They are continuing to give advice to colleague professionals as needed and offer advice and signposting to families with urgent issues. The Nurse teams will continue to provide advice often over the telephone, and will be ensuring that there is no face to face contact if symptoms are present. They are looking at possible ways that they could provide additional support over the telephone.
The East Sussex Children’s Integrated Therapies Service (ESCITS) is providing care as usual and increasing the ways they can engage with children and families during school closures and for families who are unwell or self-isolating. There is a new central number for CITES 0300 123 2650. This is a single contact point for speech and language therapy, physiotherapy, occupational therapy (including adaptations), specialist equipment and general enquiries, both for specific advice for children on their caseload and advice or support for those not currently accessing the service. Use this single contact point instead of phone numbers for individual therapists or bases, as staffing levels may fluctuate and this will help make sure someone picks up and responds to your call promptly.
There is now a centralised email for all enquires too email@example.com
CITES like many NHS services may have staff redeployed to meet urgent needs elsewhere in the NHS during this crisis period so expect some changes and delays. But the service is still taking new referrals and providing Initial Assessments via telephone or video, and therapy support to the most complex children with critical health support needs.
The School Health Service is operating in a different way at the moment. Referrals can be made through the single point of access 01323 464222 and phone appointments will be offered where appropriate. Chathealth confidential texting service for young people aged 11-19 is available as normal. Young people can text the school health team about any concerns or health issues on 07507 332473. The number is monitored Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.
Health experts are concerned that some people with health issues that need urgent care are not seeking appropriate help. Professor Russell Viner, President of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health said: “If your child is unwell the NHS is here for you. If you’re worried, please get in touch with your GP, use NHS 111, or in serious cases come and see us in hospital. Children are unlikely to be unwell with Covid, but they do get sick and when this happens we want to see them.”
During the current coronavirus emergency, if it is necessary for your child to attend a&e, please limit the number of family members/carers who accompany your child to the minimum. Alert the department by telephoning in advance if anyone in your family has recently been unwell. Be aware that they may need to take extra infection control measures which may limit where you can accompany your child in the hospital.
The Royal Alex Children’s Hospital are now cancelling most face to face clinic appointments so do not turn up at the hospital for an outpatient appointment. A clinician will telephone you on the date of your appointment via your given mobile number between 9am – 5pm. They will assess whether it essential for your child to be seen and if so an appointment will be arranged within 2 weeks.
Brighton & Hove
Make sure you have an up to date Hospital Passport or This is Me Care Passport for your child or young person.
Medication and equipment
Check your child’s supply of medication now and, if you are worried about running out, you should call your GP surgery and talk to them. You may be able to get a get a repeat prescription for the period of the crisis if you don’t currently have one set up. If your child would have been due a check before the prescription was next reordered they may override this for now if that is safe.
Patients are being encouraged to apply for repeat prescriptions online or using Prescription Ordering Direct (POD) phone service, if this is available with their GP practice. This will speed up the process for repeat prescriptions to be issued.
Getting prescriptions if you are self-isolating
Community pharmacies are extremely busy at the moment and are unlikely to be able to assist with home delivery if it is not normally something you receive.
If you have a repeat prescription and are registered with a medical condition that makes you extremely vulnerable to coronavirus, you can register yourself, or on behalf of someone to get support. Click here for more information on repeat prescriptions.
If you have a repeat prescription and are self-isolating, see if someone else is able to pick up the prescription for you. If you are isolating, have them drop it off outside your door so that you can avoid face-to-face contact. If friends and neighbours are not able to give the help you need you can contact the Community Hub to ask for help
NHS Volunteer Responders and local community support can help with delivering medicines from pharmacies, but it is best to check with your pharmacy first.
In Brighton & Hove you can now order PPE via the council. This is if it is for direct care such as support with washing and bathing, personal hygiene, contact with bodily fluids or if the person you care for has received a letter from their GP to indicate that they are in a vulnerable group and need to shield, or the household has symptoms of COVID-19.
In East Sussex, the council has information on their website with a couple of options including a form to request an emergency supply from the council.
Well Child, the national charity for sick children is offering help with PPE
Mental health and wellbeing
Here are a few other key resources:
Children’s guide to coronavirus created by the Children’s Commissioner for England
Covibook is an interactive resource designed to support and reassure children aged 7 and under, for you to work through with your child to explain the emotions that they might be experiencing
Place2Be – Guide to helping parents answer questions from their children and to support family wellbeing
A video by psychology and therapy services in London about supporting neurodiverse children during self-isolation
Young Minds – Talking to your child about Coronavirus and 10 tips from their Parents Helpline to support family wellbeing
The Schools Wellbeing Service is also running virtual workshops for parents on issues like anxiety and sleep, catch up coffee mornings where you can chat and ask questions, and specific Q&A sessions with a primary mental health worker and a nurse. Email them to find out more.
East Sussex: If you are concerned about issues such as anxiety, wellbeing and behaviour you can call the new ISEND Parents and Carers Helpline to get advice from an educational psychologist. Call 01273 481967 and leave a message. ISEND educational psychology service have also written a guide for parents about emotional wellbeing that you can use to help your child manage emotions like anxiety whilst at home.
Young people: Young people (13-25) can use a new e-welbeing website which has launched earlier than planned so it can help during the CV19 crisis. It is an accessible guide to the mental health services available to young people in Sussex. It will also help them identify self help resources relevant to how they are feeling at the moment.
14-25 year olds living in East Sussex can access support through i-rock, which offers advice and support on emotional and mental wellbeing, The service continues to offer an 11-6pm provision daily through virtual clinic software, telephone or email. Young people interested in accessing support, whether or not they have used i-rock before, should make an initial enquiry by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org More information on i-rock
These are all advice and support services, not crisis lines. If you require immediate support you need to contact your child’s GP, call CAMHS duty care on 0300 3040061 (Brighton & Hove) or the Single Point of Access 01323 464222 (East Sussex). Out of hours call the Sussex Mental Healthline on 0300 500 0101. In a life threatening situation call 999. The advice at the moment is not to go to A&E direct.
All Sussex Partnership Foundation trust (SPFT) services including CAMHS are continuing to run in Brighton & Hove. As much as possible has been moved to telephone or online video consultation. Brighton & Hove CAMHS are running virtual workshops, structured groups and drop- in groups for referred cases. This includes starting a virtual weekly ASD and ADHD drop in advice and support session for those already referred who are either waiting to be assessed and/or are waiting for input re low mood and or anxiety. Assessments may be delayed.
For mental health emergencies call CAMHS duty care on 0300 3040061 or in a life threatening situation call 999. The advice at the moment is not to go to A&E direct.
East Sussex: All Sussex Partnership Foundation trust (SPFT) services including CAMHS are continuing to run in East Sussex, apart from group-based services which have stopped. As much as possible has been moved to telephone or online video consultation. For more about how Sussex CAMHS is working currently and find advice for young people
If your child is not already being seen by CAMHS but you think they now need that level of mental health support you need to contact your child’s GP or the Single Point of Access 01323 464222 (East Sussex) who deal with all new referrals to CAMHS in East Sussex.
For mental health emergencies out of hours call the Sussex Mental Healthline on 0300 500 0101. In a life threatening situation call 999. The advice at the moment is not to go to A&E direct.
National bereavement charity Cruse have advice for anyone bereaved at this time, whatever their age.
Locally the Schools Wellbeing Service (Brighton & Hove) or Educational Psychology Service (East Sussex) can offer advice and support. Contact details above.
If you recognise that your own mental health is becoming worrying, you can contact the Sussex Mental Health Line 0300 5000 101. This service is now open 24/7 as a response to the COVID-19 situation and the impact it is having on mental health across the community. It is run by Sussex Partnership Foundation NHS Trust and can give direct support for mental wellbeing and signpost you to other services appropriate for your needs.