Living Well in Isolation

The impact of the Coronavirus pandemic has been inescapable, with most people feeling the magnitude of the change since the First Minister’s announcement regarding isolation for all but essential workers. This enforced isolation has led to sudden changes in our habits and has the potential to affect our physical and mental health. 

Allied Health Professionals (AHPs) have long been at the forefront of health and care, making sure that those who access our services are able to live as well as possible for as long as possible. However, due to the current Coronavirus outbreak many of these AHP services have been paused. This has led to a rapid adoption of digital technologies used by AHPs, and the promotion of digital information to the public.

In light of that, this blog has been designed to help you to find trust-worthy information and support that will help you to live well over the coming weeks and months.

Information Regarding Coronavirus and General Health

It may be prudent to start with a useful link from the Scottish Government’s website which details exactly what you can and cannot do during this period of isolation:  

https://www.gov.scot/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance/

General health information and advice can be found via NHS inform:

https://www.nhsinform.scot/coronavirus. There is also a self-help guide, which gives step by step information on what to do if your condition worsens and you need medical help.

General information regarding services that can be accessed close to your home can be found through Scotland’s Service Directory, though it should be noted that due to current public health advice around Coronavirus some of these services may be operating with different opening times or be temporarily closed.

Information from the Various Allied Health Professions

The following information has been made available by some Allied Health Professionals. It may be particularly useful for those who are been waiting to attend or were attending a service which has been postponed.

Art Therapy

Art therapy should be performed with a registered art therapist- some therapists are able to offer home/virtual sessions, but this should be discussed with your therapist. If you wish to find a registered art therapist, you can use the search function on the link below:

https://www.baat.org/About-Art-Therapy/Find-a-therapist

Dietetics

The British Dietetics Association (BDA) has created a page on their website specifically relating to Coronavirus, providing answers to most of the general queries you may have about food and eating well during the pandemic:

https://www.bda.uk.com/resource/covid-19-corona-virus-advice-for-the-general-public.html

The BDA has also created ‘Food Fact Sheets’ with information regarding many different conditions that are managed through diet:

https://www.bda.uk.com/food-health/food-facts.html

The Let’s Get Cooking Website contains many hints, tips and ideas and recipes for cooking with children.

There are useful patient appropriate web-based which cover a range of conditions: https://patientwebinars.co.uk

Many individual Health Boards also have great Facebook accounts which aim to support local people with aspects of their health for example NHS Ayrshire and Arran who have ‘Healthy weight Ayrshire and Arran’. Take a look at it or search for your local Health Board on Facebook and see what is available.

Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapists (OTs) are in a strong position to advise people on how to stay well while social distancing. This information has been provided by the Royal College of Occupational Therapists for people who access OT services and their families. It can also help colleagues and other health and care professionals to cope with social distancing:

https://www.rcot.co.uk/staying-well-when-social-distancing

If you currently use Twitter, then #WithOTuCan will provide you with many hints and tips that OT’s from across the country have put together including using an Alexa as a memory prompt for those that need it during social isolation.

Physiotherapy

The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) has a section on their website designed for the public detailing what a physiotherapist, it also has sections regarding common conditions, rehabilitation exercises and general health information:

https://www.csp.org.uk/public-patient

In their staying active at home section, there is a simple set of exercises to help everyone to stay active at home; this is ideal for use during isolation and may be particularly helpful to those over 70 years of age:

https://www.csp.org.uk/public-patient/keeping-active-and-healthy/staying-healthy-you-age/staying-strong-you-age/strength

The CSP have also produced a video available on YouTube regarding exercises for preventing falls; useful when community based rehabilitation teams across Scotland have been redeployed and are currently unable to provide such services to those at home.

For those looking for information on muscle, bone and joint problems (Musculoskeletal problems) NHS inform have a nationally developed and endorsed guide. It contains advice on exercises, self-care, medication and work https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/muscle-bone-and-joints

NHS Ayrshire and Arran MSK service has also launched a new website dedicated to patients with musculoskeletal pain, providing a range of condition specific exercise videos, leaflets and patient information to assist with the management of common conditions. You can also go to NHS Ayrshire and Arran’s MSK Facebook page which contains a range of information including daily exercises which you can try during lock down. Just search for MSK NHS Ayrshire & Arran on Facebook.

Finally, the Scottish National Residential Pain Management Programme has released information regarding managing chronic pain whilst socially isolating, and the Moving Medicine website has information for people living with different conditions. Simply click on the condition and then the question mark to see the downloadable patient information leaflets regarding the importance of movement and how to be more active.

Podiatry

Podiatrists are specialists in personal foot care, which is important for everyone as good foot health can reduce pain or discomfort, improve confidence, quality of life and independence.  Healthy feet can also help people to remain physically active, increase their energy levels and general zest for life that is vitally important during isolation. Importantly, neglecting personal foot care needs can contribute to falls, which might otherwise be avoided. Personal foot care includes the tasks that adults normally do for themselves such as cutting and filing toenails, smoothing and moisturising skin and looking for signs of infection.

The College of Podiatry has a section on the website designed for the public detailing the role of a podiatrist. It also has sections regarding common conditions and important foot health information.

The Scottish Government have Personal Foot Care Guidelines and Resources available to help you self manage when self isolating.

NHS inform also has valuable advice regarding foot problems:

https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/muscle-bone-and-joints/self-management-advice/foot-problems

Torbay and South Devon NHS Podiatry service have also created some videos for those with diabetes to help them look after their feet, which is an important factor in the daily management of diabetes:

Speech and Language Therapy

The Royal College of Speech and Language Therapy website has links to factsheets useful for patients/patient groups with a number of conditions such as: early years, dysphagia, mental health, Parkinson’s, head and neck cancer, stroke and swallowing difficulties. 

The full list of factsheets can be found on here.

Speech and Language Therapists also suggest the viewing of the following websites for a number of conditions:

Other Useful Websites:

ORCHA is a website that helps the NHS to assess and build apps into clinical practice.  With fewer people being able to attend practices in person, digital health resources offer a practical tool that can assist with self-management. Using this website’s recommended apps will help ensure you receive quality information

https://www.orcha.co.uk/news/coronavirus-apps-to-help-self-management

Scottish Cancer Prevention Network also has very useful recipes for healthy eating during isolation and exercises you can do while you’re boiling your kettle!

https://www.cancerpreventionscotland.org.uk/cook

https://www.cancerpreventionscotland.org.uk/resources/kettlecise

We hope that these resources will help you to continue to live well during these challenging times and until access to AHP services returns to normal.

Stay Home. Protect The NHS. Save Lives.

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