You don’t need us to tell you that the current situation is an especially big issue for Disabled people, but I’d like to tell you what we have done, and found out, so far.
1. People on Direct Payments
We have written to the Council asking them to write to everyone on Direct Payments, including those who fund their own care, explaining:
– What, as employers, we should be doing;
– Where we can get PA cover for any staff self-isolating or ill,
given that many struggle to find PAs even when offering ‘permanent’ employment;
– What funding BCC provides/will be providing so we can
pay both sick pay for existing PAs who can’t work and for
the PA cover we need, bearing in mind that no-one can
survive just on Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) and, even if they
could, many PAs don’t earn enough to qualify for it;
– What additional support BCC will be offering those people
who are especially restricted by the impact of COVID-19
e.g. funding for those who don’t usually get funding for
someone to do shopping, pick up items etc.
We have also asked WECIL if they will be providing a database of all PAs who are available, so that you can find cover for any of your PAs who go off sick or self-isolate.
Unfortunately, they don’t have one, at yet but are working on something. I will let you know when they have completed this.
I will also let you know as soon as I get a response from the Council. But, in the meantime, you can try the following, if you need support:
Can Do website: Lots of people have posted that they are happy to help with some tasks. Obviously this won’t include personal care though.
Don’t worry too much. Easier said than done, I know, but it’s good to keep in mind that:
– the guidance for the general public (wash hands regularly for at least 20seconds each time, throw tissues in the bin as soon as you’ve used them, etc) will keep most of use safe;
– to date, just 7 people in Bristol definitely have this corona virus (called covid-19). That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be careful, but it is a reason not to worry too much, too soon.
– becoming very anxious can actually lower our resistance to infections so it’s a good idea to avoid getting very anxious if you possibly can.
– we all need to keep a sense of proportion e.g. thousands and thousands of ‘vulnerable’ people in the UK die from the respiratory complications’ of flu every year, without most of us being at especially high risk.
– the government is (understandably) taking a very cautious “assume the worst and hope for the best” approach. So, the advice is based on assuming lots of people are at risk until such time as there is lots of evidence they aren’t – which the opposite of the usual way national health decisions are taken.