COVID-19: advice is available for you and your client

The global pandemic is now the dominant issue and the learning disability nursing ‘reset’ may have to wait

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This year started positively for the learning disability sector with discussions about a ‘reset’ for the profession, but now global events have overtaken us and we have the pandemic that is the coronavirus.

It’s not surprising COVID-19 is dominating the news and in everyone’s personal conversations.

NHS front-line plans include encouraging retired nurses to return to practice

In the UK to bolster the NHS’s front-line response, plans are being made to encourage retired nurses to come back into practice, while in England, NHS chief executive Simon Stevens announced plans for third-year nursing students to join the registered workforce.

These are all contingency plans for the pandemic, which has either infected or killed thousands worldwide and which is having major economic and societal consequences.

The Johns Hopkins University in the US has a useful near real-time dashboard that tracks the spread of COVID-19 across the globe.

Most at risk include people with learning disabilities and autism

What is clear is that it those with underlying health conditions are most at risk. That does mean, as you are only too aware, people with learning disabilities and autism.

As always the efforts of nurses will be crucial in trying to contain its spread particularly in the community where hand hygiene, sneezing into your sleeve, and isolation among the top recommendations.

This is difficult to say the least when you work closely with people in a home or hospital, are trying to provide holistic, person-centred care, and no one doubts it will take all your resilience and ingenuity to do. And there are other infections to consider, such as Helicobacter pylori.

It will also be a worrying time for clients who have their own anxieties and fears about the virus, but there is guidance available from RCNI for you and them which might provide some reassurance. These include online advice leaflets written in easy read formats, updates from the RCN, and one from the World Health Organization on psychological first aid.

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