Handy Tips and Hints on providing safe assistance to others

This applies to all shopping, prescription deliveries and other errands:

  • Prior to your trip please clean car surfaces that you will touch i.e. steering wheel, gearstick, grab handles, door handles, seat belt clips etc with alcohol wipes or a diluted bleach/water mix.
  • Wash your hands.
  • During the trip sanitise (or wash your hands for at least 20 seconds) regularly, especially after touching any surfaces.
  • “Anti-bac” sanitiser are not effective against viruses. You need an alcohol-based based sani1ser of at least 60%.
  • Isopropyl alcohol, known as “rubbing alcohol” is available from chemists or online and can be used in a small spray bottle to effectively sanitise gloves and other surfaces.
  • GP Practices are unable to provide these supplies as they have to conserve their stocks for clinical needs.
  • Disposable gloves can be worn to protect your hands from sanitiser if you wish (and if you have them), but if you do so you should sanitise the gloves regularly as they can be contaminated in the same way as hands.

Before offering any assistance it is a good idea to explain the process to residents you are helping. Agree a safe place outside the property if appropriate. On delivery of prescriptions, shopping or other items you should ring the bell or knock, protecting your hand with a disposable tissue, to alert the resident that you have arrived. Leave items on the doorstep or safe place and then take several paces (at least 2m) back whilst you wait. If the person you are helping struggles to bend for or lift shopping please set up a box to add height and make things easier.

Never leave medication unattended.
Always observe government guidance on hand hygiene and social distancing at all time. Keep a diary of any assistance provided. A paper trail of request and completion is important, however informal.

If the person you are helping starts to display symptoms please contact the 111 Coronavirus service. They should not go to a GP, pharmacy or hospital.

If you start to display symptoms please contact the 111 Coronavirus service and stay at home. Your whole household should then remain in isolation for 14 days.

Re shopping – if you are assistin people, please ask people to order and pay for shopping by card over the phone or online wherever possible – many local stores will accept telephone orders and payment. Delivery or collection from these local suppliers can be arranged by the store or via a volunteer.

Please encourage, support and advocate these local schemes but be mindful not to overload them – buy regularly but only what you need.

Many local pubs and other food suppliers are offering takeaway or delivery services. We must support them. Frozen or freeze-dried microwave meals can be easily ordered over the phone and delivered.

Avoid cash if you can. It may not be possible to avoid it completely but please handle it carefully (hand hygiene!). If you are supporting a resident and they need to withdraw cash or pay by card/pin please just let me know so we are aware when it is happening, Volunteers
with an enhanced DBS for Adult Workforce are able safely to support people with financial transactions but please call the office if you need advice on this.

With harder to find items that need to be purchased at larger stores Volunteers should shop when they do their own shopping, keep all receipts and ask the resident to transfer the money if they have telephone or online banking. It may be possible to have cheques cashed if necessary. Please try to group shopping to minimise trips out of the area.

Please let us know if you feel someone is in need of a regular phone call but you cannot fulfil that need. Many people who are self-isolating would like to help in some way and this will be a really important service as time goes on. We also have several volunteers with experience of mental health support who can be called on as required.

Please let us know if you feel someone is particularly at risk for any reason. We can refer to the relevant Adult Social Care team as necessary.