Coronavirus and Cerebral Palsy
5th April 2020
We know lots of people in our community are worried about Cerebral Palsy and COVID-19.
Our priority remains supporting adults living with Cerebral Palsy. We have gathered the facts and guidance to help answer some of your most common questions about coronavirus and CP.
We have launched a Facebook Group to help support the CP community through this crisis – click here to join
We’ll be regularly reviewing and updating this page, so keep checking back for the latest information. We updated this page on Sunday 5th April.
During this time you might need to take extra care of your wellbeing and mental health. The charity, Mind, have put together some helpful guidance on wellbeing and coronavirus. It’s also a good idea to look out for people who are more vulnerable or more isolated. Pick up the phone. Pop a postcard through the door. Build an online community. It’s important to stay connected.
We have also published some guidance on managing anxiety.
Latest Guidance from the Government is for everyone to stay at home
- Only go outside for food, health reasons or essential work
- Stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people
- Wash your hands as soon as you get home
On 23 March 2020 the Prime Minister announced a strict stay at home message. People will only be allowed to leave their home for the following very limited purposes:
- shopping for basic necessities, as infrequently as possible
- one form of exercise a day – for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household
- any medical need, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person
- travelling to and from work, but only where this is absolutely necessary and cannot be done from home
When you leave the house, for any of these reasons, you should avoid busy spaces and keep a distance of around 2 metres (6 feet) between you and other people.
You can go outside once each day for exercise and physical activity. Spending time in the garden, or taking a walk around the park can help you mentally and physically.
Also see the advice from our physio Miriam on washing your Hemi Hand and equipment.
On 22 March 2020, the government announced that they were introducing more rigorous shielding measures for 1.8 million people in the UK. These people are at very high risk of severe illness from coronavirus (COVID-19) because of an underlying health condition. Cerebral Palsy is not listed as a condition in this extremely vulnerable group.
The advice for people with Cerebral Palsy is to stay at home.
If you have other conditions or health issues that put you at extremely high risk, you will receive a letter from the NHS advising you to shield yourself. These letters will start to arrive on Tuesday (24 March 2020). If you’re going to receive one, you will have it this week. Follow the shielding guidance in the letter.
Shielding measures are:
- Strictly avoid contact with someone who is displaying symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19). These symptoms include high temperature and/or new and continuous cough.
- Do not leave your house.
- Do not attend any gatherings. This includes gatherings of friends and families in private spaces for example family homes, weddings and religious services.
- Do not go out for shopping, leisure or travel and, when arranging food or medication deliveries, these should be left at the door to minimise contact.
- Keep in touch using remote technology such as phone, internet, and social media.
Use the phone or online services to contact your GP or other essential services.
I have CP, am I more at risk of getting COVID-19 and what precautions should I take?
People with CP do not have a greater risk of catching coronavirus than anyone else.
However, some groups of people do have an increased risk of severe illness if they get coronavirus. These groups include everyone over 70, people who are pregnant, and people with certain conditions. The listed conditions include Cerebral Palsy.
So people with the condition should limit face to face interaction and follow strict social distancing.
This advice is likely to be in place for some weeks.
On 2 April, the Scottish Government issued a patient information leaflet which provides information on how coronavirus/COVID 19 might affect people with neurological conditions and their families.
What are the symptoms?
Coronavirus (COVID-19) affects your lungs and airways. Normally, it starts with a fever and dry cough which can lead to a shortness of breath.
Be alert for the following symptoms:
- a high temperature – over 37.8 degrees. If you don’t have a thermometer, check if you feel hot to touch on your chest or back.
- a new, continuous cough – this means coughing repeatedly for a long period.
If you, or someone you live with, experiences these symptoms follow NHS guidance on how long you should stay at home and self isolate.
I’ve developed symptoms of COVID-19, what should I do?
If you have symptoms you should self-isolate.
Use the NHS 111 coronavirus service if you’re not in immediate danger, but
- you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home
- your condition gets worse
- your symptoms do not get better after 7 days
If it is an emergency and you think you may need an ambulance, call 999 and make sure to mention that you have symptoms of COVID-19.
Self-isolation and CP
Isolation or self-isolation means stopping all face-to-face contact for a short period of time to protect others and slow down the spread of coronavirus. The NHS advice on isolation varies according to your situation. If you think you or someone in your household should be self-isolating, please visit the NHS website for full guidance on how to do this.
While you can’t be in face to face contact, you can still keep connected through phone calls, online forums and social media.
Ask a friend, neighbour or delivery driver, to bring essential items you need like food or medicine. They should leave them on your doorstep for you to collect.
You can go outside for gentle exercise. Spending time in the garden, or taking a walk around the park can help you mentally and physically. Just keep a distance of around 2 metres (6 feet) between you and other people.
I live with someone with Cerebral Palsy – what should I do?
People with CP don’t have a greater risk of catching coronavirus than anyone else. But they do have an increased risk of severe illness if they get coronavirus.
We understand this is an anxious time for people with CP and also people living with them. Following government advice, you should continue with sensible precautions such as good hand hygiene and social distancing. It’s encouraged for everyone, especially if you’re living with someone with CP.
If you are caring for someone with CP, there are some simple steps that you can take to protect them and to reduce their risk at the current time. Ensure you follow advice on good hygiene such as:
- Wash your hands often, using soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze.
- Put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards.
- Find out about different sources of support that could be used and access further advice on creating a contingency plan available from Carers UK.
- Look after your own wellbeing and physical health during this time.
Stay at home guidance for households
Staying up to date on coronavirus around the UK
Current information and guidance for the UK can be found:
- England – follow advice from the NHS and Government
- Scotland – follow advice from NHS Inform and Government
- Wales – follow advice from Public Health Wales
- Northern Ireland – follow advice from Public Health Agency
These sources reflect the most up to date information and will be updated as the situation progresses.