Coronavirus resources & support Coronavirus shielding guidance and support The situation is changing daily, as are updates from the Government. You can find out the latest Government advice by regularly checking in on www.gov.uk or here. With a new variant of COVID-19 in circulation in the UK, all areas of the UK have now imposed stricter lockdown and shielding measures to reduce the transmission of the virus, and protect people who are clinically extremely vulnerable. REGIONAL ADVICE ON SHIELDING AND PROTECTION MEASURES ENGLAND - more information available here From 5 January 2021, a national lockdown is once again in force across England. 'Formal' shielding measures have also been re-introduced, for people who are considered to be clinically extremely vulnerable. As someone who is shielding, you should follow the following guidance: Stay at home as much as possible. You should avoid going to shops or pharmacies, and should arrange for items to be delivered to you, wherever possible. You can register to access priority delivery slots at supermarkets by clicking here. Work from home. If your job means that you cannot work from home, you should not go to your place of work. Your employer may be able to furlough you under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. You may also be eligible for ESA (Employment Support Allowance) or SSP (Statutory Sick Pay). Avoid socialising with other people. While you can exercise outdoors, do everything that you can to avoid contact with others. You may meet up to one person outside for exercise. Avoid travelling. You should only leave your home, or travel for essential purposes, such as medical appointments. WALES - more information available here Wales is currently in Alert Level 4, and all people living in Wales are expected to stay at home as much as possible. People who are clinically extremely vulnerable are advised not to leave their home for work or education. You should follow the following advice: Keep contacts with others to a minimum, and maintain social distancing Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly with soap and hot water You can exercise outdoors, but should ideally go at quieter times during the day to avoid contact with others SCOTLAND - more information available here In Scotland, people who are clinically extremely vulnerable and living in areas which are in Level 4 and subject to lockdown restrictions should exercise extreme caution while the restrictions remain in place, until at least the end of January 2021. It is important that you stay at home as much as possible. Work from home wherever possible. If it is not possible to do so, you must not attend your place of work. Arrange for someone to go shopping for you, or have your groceries delivered. You can register for priority delivery slots by clicking here. You can also arrange to have your prescriptions delivered. Maintain social distancing and wash your hands regularly. For areas of Scotland not in Level 4, you should follow the general advice for your protection level, while still exercising extreme caution. NORTHERN IRELAND - more information available here In Northern Ireland, individuals who are clinically extremely vulnerable should follow thee general guidance that has been given. In light of the recent development surrounding the discovery of a new strain of COVID-19, people in Northern Ireland who are clinically extremely vulnerable are now advised that they should work from home and not attend the workplace, with effect from 26 November 2020. You should be particularly careful to maintain social distancing, and keep contact with others to an absolute minimum. Only travel when absolutely necessary, and avoid using public transport. WHO IS "EXTREMELY VULNERABLE"? You are likely to be assessed as extremely vulnerable if you are on any kind of immunosuppression therapy. If you are an aplastic anaemia patient, we strongly recommend that you speak to your clinicians - they will be expecting your questions and will know exactly what to recommend for your individual circumstances. MENTAL WELL-BEING The AAT has put new services in place to support you. If you are feeling anxious and concerned about your mental health, you do not have to struggle with this alone. We are working with Maggies to deliver a series of Wellbeing Webinars designed to give you useful tools and advice to protect your mental health. Wellbeing Wednesday is a weekly online support group, delivered by Lesley from Maggie's. You can join in any time you like for a supportive chat with other people in similar situations, led by an expert. Our new Support Manager, Sam, is here to help - you can chat to him in our Facebook group, or call our hotline on +44 (0) 300 102 3202. A compilation of helpful free online resources to help you cope with the Coronavirus crisis, as recommended by the team of psychologists in the Department of Haematology, King's College Hospital, London - here. FINANCIAL HELP There is some financial support available to stem cell transplant patients from Anthony Nolan, who as part of their Grants service, are now making emergency funds available to help cover the cost of coronavirus. COVID Emergency Patient Fund Have you had to stop working to protect yourself from coronavirus? Or are you spending more on food, technology or cleaning products while ‘shielding’ in isolation? Do you have to pay more to travel further for your follow-up appointments during the pandemic? One-off grants of up to £250 are now available to stem cell transplant patients for expenses which have a direct link to coronavirus. Applying is easy: complete an online form and email it back to Anthony Nolan, including the contact details of a healthcare professional from your transplant team. Find out whether you’re eligible and apply here: www.anthonynolan.org/grants If you’d like further info about the COVID Emergency Patient Fund, email AN at [email protected] or call on 0303 303 0303. SUPPORT IF YOU'RE SHIELDING 750,000 volunteers have volunteered to take part in the NHS Volunteer Responders scheme - to help the most vulnerable. The volunteers can help with tasks such as collecting shopping and prescribed medicines or driving patients to medical appointments. This service is available for people who are at high risk from coronavirus where no local support is available, for example: if they have been asked to self-isolate and ‘shield’; if they are over 70 and have underlying health conditions; or if they are self-isolating and you consider them to be especially vulnerable. We are being encouraged to increase these referrals. So if you need help - please get in touch - [email protected]. As a referring organisation, we'll need your contact details, address and details on the type of support you need. ADVICE Parents will find it useful to catch up on our webinar Q&A with Dr Sujith Samarasinghe: The impact of Covid-19 on children with aplastic anaemia, recorded on 1 August, which covers specific advice on whether it is safe for children to return to school. The latest guidance document produced by NICE for children and young people who are immunocompromised, published on 1 May 2020 - here. The latest advice from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) on stem cell transplantation, 1.4.2020 - here. Advice from King's College Hospital Haematology Team for aplastic anaemia patients, 27.3.2020 - here. Advice for children and young people with haematology and oncology diagnoses at Great Ormond Street Hospital - here. Advice for patients (transplant and CAR T) from Department of Clinical Haematology, King's College Hospital - here. The latest advice from Public Health England for shielding the most vulnerable - here. The latest advice for Bone Marrow Transplant Patients: The latest guidance from the UK/Ireland Paediatric BMT Group: GUIDELINES FOR COVID19 IN PAED HSCT PATIENTS is available here The latest guidance from the British Society of Blood and Marrow Transplantation and Cellular Therapy for BMT adult patients is available here For more information about COVID-19 and how to reduce the risk of infection, you can consult the NHS website. Will aplastic anaemia patients be able to have the coronavirus vaccine? How does Covid-19 affect aplastic anaemia patients? Did we answer your questions? Our team are working hard to keep our Coronavirus Resources useful and up to date. If you have a question that isn't answered here, or you have an issue you would like our help with, please email us at [email protected] or call our helpline on +44 (0) 300 102 3202.