HSE advises on how to 'cocoon' safely without losing touch with the outside world (file photo)
The HSE outlines what cocooning is, and how people can achieve it:
Cocooning is a measure to protect people who are over 70 years of age or those who are extremely medically vulnerable by minimising all interaction between them and others.
The main cocooning measures are:
1. Strictly avoid contact with someone who is displaying symptoms of COVID-19. These symptoms include high temperature and/or new and continuous cough.
2. Do not leave your house.
3. Do not attend any gatherings. This includes gatherings of friends and families in private spaces for example family homes, weddings and religious services.
4. Do not go out for shopping and, when arranging food or medication deliveries, these should be left at the door to minimise contact.
5. Keep in touch using remote technology such as phone, internet, and social media.
6. Do use telephone or online services to contact your GP or other essential services.
7. Ensure you keep phones/devices charged, and have credit on your phone so that you can stay connected.
What if I need support with daily activities?
Visits from people who provide essential support to you such as healthcare, personal support with your daily needs or social care should continue, but carers and care workers must stay away if they have any of the symptoms of COVID-19.
You should, if possible, have an alternative person or list of people who can help you with your care if your main carer becomes unwell. If you are receiving Home Support from the HSE or a Home Support provider organisation you should discuss what arrangements can be made with them remembering that the best advice is to make sure the necessary support is provided to you but with the minimum contact necessary and keeping the number of visits to a minimum also.
If you have someone else living with you, they are not required to adopt these protective cocooning measures for themselves.
If you care for but don’t actually live with someone who is extremely medically vulnerable you should still stringently follow the public health guidance on physical distancing.
We know that stopping these activities will be difficult. You should try to identify ways of staying in touch with others and participating in your normal activities remotely from your home. However, you must not participate in alternative activities if they involve any direct contact with other people.
How can you get assistance with foods and medicines if you are cocooning?
In the first instance, family, friends and neighbours can support you once you adhere to cocooning guidelines and they adhere to physical distancing guidelines.
If these options are not available to you, the Government is putting in place assistance through the local authorities, working with the voluntary sector services, to ensure you can have access to food, essential household supplies and medicines.
ALONE is providing a telephone support line, seven days a week from 8am – 8pm, for all older people, vulnerable people and their families to contact if they would like any advice, reassurance or additional support: 0818 222 024.
The HSELive team are available to answer questions the public from 8am - 8pm Monday to Friday and from 10am - 5pm on Saturdays and Sundays. Call 1850 24 1850.