Guidance on how to live with long-term health conditions during Covid 19 in Donegal

HSE coordinator for chronic conditions offers you advice

Guidance on how to live with long-term health conditions during Covid 19 in Donegal

At this time of Covid-19 related restrictions, HSE self-management support coordinator for chronic conditions for HSE Community Healthcare Area 1, Maeve McKeon, provides practical advice for people living at home with long-term health conditions in particular diabetes, COPD, asthma, cardiac conditions and stroke and describes resources available to them.

Area 1 covers counties Cavan, Donegal, Leitrim, Monaghan and Sligo.

People living with a long-term health condition may be more at risk of serious illness if they get coronavirus and need to take extra care to protect themselves. It is also really important that they continue to manage their long-term health condition at this time. A long-term health condition is any that lasts longer than six months and that can be managed but not cured.
 
If you have a long-term health condition you still have to do the things that help you stay well.

  1. Set a daily routine.
  2. Get up, get dressed and get moving.
  3. Continue to monitor your condition.

If your condition worsens call your GP or hospital to get the advice you need.

Right now it is more important than ever that people seek help early if their condition worsens. Both GPs and hospital teams are still there for all those who need them.
 
The key messages for looking after your long-term health condition are:

  • Continue to monitor your long-term health condition
  • Continue to take your medications
  • Mind your mental health
  • Eat well
  • Keep active
  • Stop smoking
  • Reduce alcohol intake

Plan a daily routine which includes your checks. Responding to changes quickly helps keep your long-term health condition under control. Follow your care plan if you have one.

Medications
Keep taking your regular medications. Make sure you do not run out of any medication. Talk to your GP or pharmacist if you have any concerns. Order your medication over the phone so that it is ready for collection. Many pharmacies offer a delivery service. Or you can ask someone you trust or phone your Community Call helpline if you need help to collect your medication.
Make a list of your medicines. This is important information to give to health workers if you become sick.

Mind Your Mental Health
Being stressed about COVID-19 is normal and not unexpected. Stress and worry can make your underlying condition worse. There are things you can do to help you get through this time. Plan your day, include some nice activities, eat healthy foods that you enjoy and keep active.  

Make a daily routine which includes chatting with someone at least once a day. If you need advice talk with people you respect and trust such as your family, friends or your healthcare team.
If you need help to cope contact your GP or visit the HSE website www2.hse.ie/wellbeing/mental- health/minding-your-mental- health-during-the-coronavirus- outbreak.html
You can also call ALONE on 0818 222 024 for support or a listening ear.

Eat Well
Remember to eat well. Ensure your routine involves regular healthy meals throughout the day which includes some fresh food. Plan ahead and do a weekly shopping list or discuss having meals brought to you. Call your Community Call helpline if you need help with collecting your shopping or meals.

Keep Active
It is still important to keep yourself active by getting up and moving around as much as possible. If you have a garden or balcony, spend time outside to get fresh air and vitamin D from the sun. Include being active as part of your daily routine. Check with your usual healthcare provider for advice about exercise suitable for you.

Cocooning
Some people who have a long-term health condition need to cocoon. Cocooning means you should stay at home and avoid face-to-face contact at this time. People who need to cocoon include people over 70 and people with severe asthma or severe COPD.

Here is the link to the most up to date, easy to read cocooning information https://www2.hse.ie/ conditions/coronavirus/ cocooning.html.

You may also go out for a short walk or drive up to 5 kilometres from your home to exercise and you can meet up to 4 people outdoors while adhering to social distancing.

Always wash your hands when you get home                                                                                                                                                                                                                                If you have a specific condition which means your doctor has advised against meeting other people, always follow your doctor's advice.


HSE Resources to Help You
A leaflet produced by the HSE www.hse.ie/eng/health/hl/ selfmanagement/living-well- programme/living-well- programme.html provides practical and clear information to support people to manage their diabetes, COPD, asthma, heart conditions or stroke  and to stay well.  
 
Each key message is supported by a helpful tip and signposts to other resources available at this time. This resource was developed by the National Self-management Support Co-ordinator Team and approved by the National Clinical Care Programmes for Diabetes, Respiratory and Heart Failure.

GP and Emergency Services:
We are reminding people not to delay seeking attention for their health issues during the Covid-19 Pandemic.  Our health service is working for everyone - and our staff are taking every precaution to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

So, if you’re worried about a health problem, don’t let fear of coronavirus stop you from getting help.
Your GP is just a phone call away.

And, if you have urgent symptoms like chest pain -  or signs of a stroke, like slurred speech, or weakness in your face or arms - go to your Emergency Department, or call 999 or 112, immediately.
Stay Safe - and visit hse.ie for more information


Other Resources 

Community Call
We would also remind people that the local authorities have set up a COVID-19 community call service in their areas. The community call service has a phone line available 7 days a week. The phone line is for high risk people or those asked to cocoon. You can ring the phone line to get help with deliveries of shopping, food, medicine and fuel.

Donegal County Council
1800 928 982
covidsupport@donegalcoco.ie

Heart Conditions
The Irish Heart Foundation has a private Facebook page support group for people living with heart disease. This online heart support group, supported by dedicated heart failure nurses across the country, is for people living with a heart condition and their family members who care for them.

The aim is to keep you informed with expert health information and advice to help you manage your condition.
www.facebook.com/groups/ heartsupportnetwork/

CROI offers a free telephone helpline and daily ‘Virtual Health Chats’ for people living with heart conditions and stroke.  Call CROI on 091-544310, email: healthteam@croi.ie or Facebook/Twitter: @croiheartstroke.

Stroke
The Irish Heart Foundation has a private Facebook page support group stroke survivors. The forum is a confidential private and caring space to boost the confidence of stroke survivors and help others get their lives back on track.
www.facebook.com/groups/ IHFLifeAfterStroke/

CROI offers a free telephone helpline and daily ‘Virtual Health Chats’ for people living with heart conditions and stroke.  Call CROI on 091-544310, email: healthteam@croi.ie or Facebook/Twitter: @croiheartstroke.

Asthma/ COPD
Beating Breathlessness is a free WhatsApp support service for patients with asthma or COPD (or their carers) who need information or support to manage their condition. People with asthma and COPD can also use this support service to learn how to manage their anxiety around their conditions.
www.asthma.ie/beating- breathlessness.

Living Well Programme                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Living Well (previously known as the Quality of Life Programme) is a free group programme which supports you to develop the skills to live as well as possible with your long-term health condition. The Living Well Programme will be delivered as an on-line programme during the Covid-19 restrictions period.                                                                                                        

Those interested in doing the Living Well Programme can call: Martina on 087-331 4159 or Helen on 087-396 4307. Visit www.hse.ie/selfmanagmentsupport-donegal

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