This time of Lockdown and Social Distancing, due to COVID-19 is not easy. It can have a significantly negative impact on our mental, physical, and emotional health and wellbeing. Difficult conversations are being had, isolation and loneliness are really tough and it’s particularly hard that we don’t know how long this period may last.
In this video, I share some ideas of the kind of things that can help us stay well. It’s by no means an exhaustive list, but hopefully helps us think about how we can stay well individually whilst also looking out for our neighbours. None of this is easy, but whilst we’re staying home to suppress the virus, stop the spread and give our health (and other front line) services the best chance of caring for people, we need to ensure we stay healthy and well, whilst building our strength and resilience. Together we can!
We live in unprecedented times and are walking over unfamiliar terrain. I posted a video last week to express gratitude and offer advice to teachers and TAs, based on the World Health Organisation’s situation report of March 6th 2020. The evidence in the WHO publication suggested that children become much less unwell than adults with COVID19 and are lower transmitters of the virus. Here is some text from the article: “Children are important drivers of influenza virus transmission in the community. For COVID-19 virus, initial data indicates that children are less affected than adults and that clinical attack rates in the 0-19 age group are low. Further preliminary data from household transmission studies in China suggest that children are infected from adults, rather than vice versa.“
Since that time, some fresh evidence from a small study in China has emerged in Science Daily and The Lancet to suggest that although children are at less risk from the virus overall, they may be important carriers of it (though it is stated that this is still poorly understood and needs more research). The Lancet article concludes: The most important finding to come from the present analysis is the clear evidence that children are susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection, but frequently do not have notable disease, raising the possibility that children could be facilitators of viral transmission. If children are important in viral transmission and amplification, social and public health policies (eg, avoiding interaction with elderly people) could be established to slow transmission and protect vulnerable populations. There is an urgent need to for further investigation of the role children have in the chain of transmission.
As a result of this, I’ve updated my video and also highly recommend reading the latest and incredibly helpful advice from Public Health England for schools and those caring for children and young people.
For those of us more at risk from Corona Virus, over the next few days and weeks, your GP will be in touch to have a difficult conversation with you about care planning. That means a conversation about what your wishes would be, if you become very unwell from COVID-19. We find ourselves in unchartered waters and unprecedented times. Conversations about what might happen if we become seriously unwell, or have to face death are never easy, but they are really important. Here, I invite us to start having those conversations and to think about what really matters to us.
It seems that not everyone is too sure about this ‘Lockdown’ business. Some people are insinuating that the government advice isn’t trustworthy, and others plainly don’t believe it or perhaps don’t understand the rationale. In this vlog, I try and explain why scientists and medics are uniting with one voice to ask us all to take it really seriously…..without this, the NHS will be brought to it’s knees and many more people will die unnecessarily. Don’t think it only affects those who are more elderly or vulnerable – it does not!
We’ve had loads of questions in the last few days from many of our brilliant teachers and TAs around COVID19 and how they can stay safe whilst they remain in school, looking after the children of ‘Key Workers’. I am SO grateful for everything that is being done – here is some advice that I hope is helpful! As with ANY of my videos and due to the changing nature of evidence, as we learn more….if anything changes, I will post an update. If that happens I will delete this video and do another on. The evidence is a bit conflicting currently. This video is based on evidence from the World Health Organisation:
Page 2 of WHO report: Children are important drivers of influenza virus transmission in the community. For COVID-19 virus, initial data indicates that children are less affected than adults and that clinical attack rates in the 0-19 age group are low. Further preliminary data from household transmission studies in China suggest that children are infected from adults, rather than vice versa.
This is my message to NHS & Public Sector staff, and all our community volunteers, during this Corona Virus Pandemic – so grateful for all you are doing. Let’s look after each other.
As the national guidance changes, here in the UK, I’m updating my advice and practical suggestions of what we can do to be prepared, stay well, support each other and be good neighbours. I hope you find this next instalment helpful!
My friend, Lucy Watts, is dying. She knows that her beautiful life will be cut short by the condition which she lives with. Death is something we often find hard to talk about, but it is one thing we can be certain of. How do you feel about death? What are your hopes and fears? Have you thought about what would happen to those around you if you died quite suddenly and unexpectedly? Or if you are facing death yourself, in a very real way, have you thought about your wishes, in terms of care, where you might like to die, and what would be important to you about your funeral? Have you instructed a Power of Attorney? Do they know what you would and wouldn’t want? These are certainly not easy conversations to have, but I am so grateful to Lucy for telling her story and how it has given her the determination to really live:
I am hugely passionate about how we create great cultures in which to live and work. One particular thing I love is building a culture of joy! My friends Rachel Pilling and Dan Wadsworth have come up with a super easy way in which to practically build joy in work, through this simple but excellent idea of 15-30. This is the magic that happens when clinicians and managers work together. Watch it, if you work in the NHS then sign up and get involved and if you work outside the NHS – the idea is entirely replicable in any other part of life. By you going the extra mile now, you could save your friend a marathon….Building joy in work is, according to the IHI, the most important foundation on which to build a safe, sustainable and excellent health and care system. With staff morale as low as it is, let’s do what we can to promote joy in the daily grind. Here are Dan and Rachel explaining more in their excellent TEDxNHS talk – well worth your time!: