Understanding coronavirus and Parkinson’s
Although Parkinson’s is different for everyone, current UK government advice for people with Parkinson’s is still to stay at home as much as possible. Check the guidance for your local area as this may be different to the advice in the rest of your country.
We have a range of information and support to help you during this challenging time. Our friendly, expert helpline advisers are also available to take your call if you have any concerns or questions, or need further advice.
- Helpline (0808 800 0303)
- Online coronavirus support for people affected by Parkinson’s
- Staying active and exercising when you’re staying at home
- Managing your mental health when you’re staying at home
- Going into hospital when you have Parkinson’s
- Our campaigns - how we’ve been fighting for people with Parkinson’s
Coronavirus what should I do?
What should I do?
Stay at home as much as possible
Following recent briefings from governments in devolved countries, and from the UK government, guidance for people in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland is to stay at home as much as possible. The Prime Minister said, “There is one certainty: the fewer social contacts you have, the safer you will be.”
The Chief Medical Officers for England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland have recommended that the alert level be reduced from 4 to 3. They added in a statement that this does not mean the pandemic is over. It means that there has been a steady decrease in all 4 parts of the UK.
Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland, recently said: “Life – at the moment – shouldn’t feel absolutely normal. I wish it could, but it can’t and it shouldn’t.” Relaxed lockdown guidance for people who are clinically vulnerable, including people with Parkinson’s, says that it’s very important to stay at home as much as possible. Relaxed guidance depends on the risk of catching the virus staying low. Follow distancing and hygiene guidelines if you do go out.
During this pandemic, it’s especially important to take extra care of your wellbeing and mental health. We’ve published an article on how to cope if you’re feeling isolated. And the charity, Mind, have put together some helpful guidance on wellbeing and coronavirus.
Reasons to leave home, and distancing
If you leave the house you should avoid busy times and spaces and keep a distance of 2 metres (6 feet) from people you do not live with.
In Northern Ireland, England, and Scotland, where it is not possible to maintain a 2m distance, 1m is allowed. This is only where extra precautions are in place and may apply to places like offices, supermarkets, cafes. We recommend that you check extra precautions are in place, before you decide if this is safe for you. Extra precautions include proper ventilation, no face to face contact, face coverings, and plastic screens.
Continue to follow good hygiene practices, including regular hand-washing, not sharing crockery and cutlery, and wiping down surfaces. It’s still safest not to go into other people’s homes.
Reasons you may leave your home include:
- for work, where you cannot work from home
- going to shops and other places that are permitted to be open, staying 2m apart
- to exercise or spend time outdoors, staying 2m apart
- to socialise outdoors, staying 2m apart (in groups of no more than 6 people in England; 30 people in Wales; 15 in Northern Ireland and Scotland, where you can only meet with 4 other households per day).
- to attend drive-through church or places of worship.
- any medical need, including to donate blood, avoid injury or illness, escape risk of harm, or provide care or help to a vulnerable person
Meeting other households in an indoor setting:
In England, Northern Ireland and Scotland, 2 households (of any size in England, up to 6 people in Northern Ireland and a maximum of 8 people in total in Scotland) can meet inside or outside. This includes being able to stay overnight in the same household, if you all follow social distancing and good hygiene (the only exceptions to distancing are for people in a social bubble or extended household, and for children under 11 in Scotland only).
If you have to be in an indoor space, it’s best to wear a face covering. You may be asked to wear one in certain situations, like a GP appointment, but you should be informed of this before you go. Face coverings on public transport, shops and other indoor places are compulsory in England, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. In Wales, face coverings are compulsory on public transport.
You do not need to wear a face covering if you have a good reason not to. If you have a physical or mental illness, or a disability that means you cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering, you do not have to wear one. You do not have to provide medical evidence of your reason for not wearing a face covering.
For exemptions and guidance in different parts of the UK you can refer to the specific guidance for the country you’re in.
If you feel more comfortable, you can carry a face covering exempt card. You can download and print one free of charge here. The second and third cards under the heading, ‘Learning disability cards’ are suitable for anyone with Parkinson’s who cannot wear a face covering.
Can I form a support bubble, or extended household?
Support bubbles and extended households are intended to help you if you’re lonely and feeling isolated, or if you need to care for or support someone else. You should take particular care when deciding whether to form a support bubble, or extending your household, and any implications this may have on your health.
Support bubbles or extended households must be exclusive. If you decide to form a bubble or extended household, you can only join one household. You and that household must not extend with anyone else. You must not change this arrangement.
In England and Northern Ireland, if you live by yourself or are a single parent with dependent children, you can form a support bubble with one other household of any size.
In Scotland, if you live by yourself or are a single parent with dependent children, you can extend your household with one other person or single person with dependent children. If you have a partner who does not live with you, you can also form an extended household with them, even if neither of you lives alone or only with children under 18.
In Wales, any four households can join together to form a single extended household from 22 August.
If you meet the criteria and have Parkinson’s, you can form a support bubble or extend your household.
Forming a support bubble, or extending with another household or households, means you can meet – indoors or out – and be closer than 2 metres apart. You can also stay overnight as if you lived with that household.
Shielding measures for people who are extremely vulnerable
Strict shielding measures for people in the UK classed as extremely vulnerable were introduced in March. Shielding is for people at very high risk of severe illness and hospital admission from coronavirus (COVID-19) because of an underlying health condition. If you need to shield, you will have been contacted by the NHS. Only people who were advised by the NHS had to take this precaution.
Because disease levels are much lower now than when shielding was first introduced, shielding advice is officially paused across the UK. You should have received a letter updating you on what this means for you.
Jenny Harries, Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England said at the announcement, “It is not just about what it is possible to do, it’s about what it is sensible to do. […] it’s advisory as we keep saying, it is for individuals to choose.”
You may choose to remain at home if you do not feel comfortable with contact with others. Though time outside in the fresh air, when it’s very quiet, is likely to make you feel better in yourself. Parkinson’s is different for everyone and we know that it’s a challenge to balance your mental health, physical health and social wellbeing. If you’re unsure or need to talk to someone, we’re here. Call our advisers on 0808 800 0303.
Please visit our website for more information HERE.