HILS and LILS response to COVID-19
02 July – Version 15
As part of the national response to the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, Hertfordshire Independent Living Service (HILS) and London Independent Living Service (LILS) have been taking proactive measures to safeguard our teams and clients, whilst continuing to provide vital services in the community.
HILS and LILS are aware that some of our clients may be more vulnerable as a result of their age or health conditions. Our Executive Team is in close contact with public health experts and other key partners to ensure we are following government guidance in the best way possible. We will continue to monitor this developing situation closely and to respond appropriately.
As a result of recent guidance, we have made some important changes to our service provision:
We have temporarily scaled back and suspended some of our services.
This is so that we can focus our attention and resources on continuing to deliver our vital Meals on Wheels and Emergency Food and Grocery Pack services. Please see the table below for full details. We have begun to take steps towards re-establishing a number of our suspended services. We will be updating our existing clients and partner organisations directly when appropriate.
We have made some small changes to the way we deliver meals.
This is to ensure we continue to follow the latest government advice to protect both clients and staff. We are continuing to work closely with current clients or their next of kin to establish the safest way to deliver meals, welfare checks, and medication prompts.
We are continuing to minimise any risk of infection through preventative measures in line with national guidance and regular communication to all staff.
All team members are required to report to us and to self-isolate if they develop any coronavirus-related symptoms (new persistent cough, fever, sudden loss of smell and taste). We are taking extra precautions. Our Community Team members are wearing face masks for all delivers, we will also be using special personal protective equipment (PPE) for clients who cannot receive doorstep meal deliveries.
We have recruited volunteers to help us continue to deliver our vital services.
These volunteers are being thoroughly risk assessed to ensure that they can safely deliver services to our vulnerable clients. They will be wearing HILS identity badges and will have letters to prove that they are acting on our behalf, clients should have received letters informing them of this.
If you are at all concerned, please call us on 0330 2000 103.
We are not currently recruiting volunteers, but you can continue to support our activities by following us on social media, or helping us through fundraising and donations – find out more here.
We will be regularly updating our website to let you know how HILS is responding in line with any changes in government guidance.
How can I help to keep myself and my loved ones safe?
The government has introduced new measures as we take steps towards easing lockdown restrictions from 4th July. While these measures aim to lead us towards restoring normality, it’s important to understand that we must continue to enforce, and practice, the appropriate precautions as the coronavirus continues to circulate throughout the community.
You can help to prevent the spread of illnesses by adopting these simple hygiene habits, and asking any visitors to your home to do the same:
Wash your hands regularly and well, especially before leaving the house and on returning home, after using the toilet, and before eating. Use plenty of soap and scrub all over: scrub your hands for the length of time it takes to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ twice, before rinsing. You can also use a gel hand sanitiser instead of soap and water. Do not touch your face with unwashed hands.
“Catch it, bin it, kill it”. Hold a disposable tissue over your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough, then immediately throw away the tissue and wash your hands as above.
Practice social distancing by reducing unnecessary interactions with other people. This does not mean that you should not visit your GP, seek medical attention, or do any other activities necessary for your health and wellbeing. We know that this period of social distancing is going to be hard for a lot of people, and we want to do what we can to support our clients. We will be keeping in touch with our clients regularly and we will also be sending them some fun activity packs, advice on nutrition and hydration, mental health advice, and exercise sheets to keep them fit, well, and entertained. We will also be developing a resources page on our website with useful tips and advice to help people stay safe and well in their homes.
If you are concerned you may be experiencing symptoms, you can use the NHS 111 online service. Or call NHS 111 (please be aware the helpline is experiencing a high volume of calls).
What is ‘Test and Trace’?
The NHS has implemented a ‘Test and Trace’ system. This is designed to trace the spread of Coronavirus. If you test positive for COVID-19, the NHS Test and Trace service will ask you to give details of anyone you have recently been in contact with, and any places you have recently visited. It is important that you give them the information that they need as accurately as possible. If you are contacted by the NHS Test and Trace service because you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive, you must inform us straight away by calling the Coronavirus Helpdesk on 01462 887181. They will advise you on what actions to take.
A genuine contact tracer will never ask you to disclose bank details or ring an expensive phone number beginning with 09 or 087.