Coronavirus advice and support

Updated: 15 May 2020

You might be feeling worried or confused about everything that's happening right now. They are normal reactions to a situation like this. If you can’t find what you’re looking for on this page, please check your local page, or give your service or worker a call. You can find details of all our services via our ‘find a service’ page

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General coronavirus advice

Health advice

Symptoms

The most common symptoms of coronavirus are a new continuous cough and/or a high temperature. Do not leave home if you or someone you live with has either of these symptoms. Please use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do.

Other advice

Here are some useful websites:

Support from our services

Can I still visit my service in person?

Our services are still running and our workers are still available to support you, but we’ll be holding most appointments over the phone or by video call for a while.

You won’t be able to come to a group in person for now, but we are running them as online video calls as much as possible.

You can find out what’s happening at your service, and how to contact them, by visiting your local service page -  search our list of services on the ‘find a service’ page. You can also speak to a member of our online team for advice.

Information on prescriptions

Information about giving consent

Can I still use the needle exchange?

We are planning to keep our needle exchanges open, but please call before you come.

If you can’t visit your pharmacy or your service, please give us a call. We may be able to deliver safer injecting equipment to you. 

What should I do if I can’t contact my worker?

Please call your main service number, and another worker will be able to help you. You can find numbers for all Change Grow Live services using our ‘find a service’ page.

You can also speak to a member of our online team for advice.

What if I can't get through when I ring my service?

We are getting a lot of calls at the moment so if you can't get through, please don't give up. Our services are still running.

Please leave a message with your name and number, and someone will call you back as soon as possible. You can also speak to a member of our online team for advice.

Will my pharmacy still be open?

Pharmacies are open but it’s worth giving your local pharmacy a call to check the opening times.

Drug and alcohol support and online meetings

Your safety and wellbeing

Domestic abuse

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If you are staying at home with an abusive partner, you can still leave your house to keep yourself safe.

The government has said that anyone who is experiencing domestic abuse, or is at risk of experiencing domestic abuse, can leave and seek refuge. You can read the advice from the government if you’d like to know more. 

If you are feeling isolated, there is still support available to you both online and over the phone. You can call the National Domestic Abuse Helpline, for free and in confidence, 24 hours a day on 0808 2000 247 (try to memorise this number for when you need it). You can also read advice from Refuge and advice from Women’s Aid.

If you are in immediate danger, call 999 and ask for the police. Try and keep your phone charged and with you all the time if you can.

If you’re in danger and you can’t talk on the phone, you can still safely contact the police. Call 999 and then press 55. This will transfer your call to the police and let them know there is an emergency without you having to say anything.

Bright Sky app

Bright Sky is a free app that can provide support and information for anyone who may be in an abusive relationship or anyone who is concerned about someone they know.

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Information for professionals

Our plans and resources

How we're supporting people

Our approach aims to ensure continuity of essential treatment for the people who use our services.

Please download and share our plans if you think they would be helpful:

Making decisions

We are facing uncertain times and needing to make multiple and complex decisions. We know that at times of stress and anxiety, we all are prone to having 'fight or flight feelings', that can impact our ability to make ethical decisions. We have created a guide for decision making (PDF) and an ethical principles guide. (PDF)

Making sense of grief and loss

Supporting your team

If you and your team are coping with the death of someone you have supported or someone close, stepping back and thinking about how you and your team can work through this difficult experience can be invaluable. We have created a guide for people managing teams (PDF) to help provide some support. 

Supporting family members and loved ones

It’s always a difficult time when a person who uses our services dies. Speaking to family members who want to understand more about the treatment and support their loved one was receiving can help them to process the loss. We have created a guide to support staff to have compassionate and meaningful conversations. (PDF)

Psychologically informed language

People who have experienced chronic trauma and lifelong abuse need clear language that assures. These top tips (PDF) may be helpful if you're writing messaging right now.

What do you think?

We would be really interested to hear your feedback. Please tweet us at @changegrowlive or use our 'contact us' page

For staff in hostels or other temporary accommodation

Medication-assisted treatment

This situation has had a significant impact on the way we deliver our services. We needed to find a sustainable way to guarantee access to a safe supply of medication-assisted treatment, and protect people from coming into contact with coronavirus as much as possible. Many people have now changed from supervised consumption to a longer take-home supply. We have decided on the best solution for each individual based on their current situation, health and accommodation. 

As the situation developed, we received feedback from The Salvation Army about the potential issues this change to a longer supply could present in a hostel setting. We listened to this feedback, reflected and have now revised our prescribing guidance.

How can I support someone who is on methadone or buprenorphine?

We recognise the potential issues that our medication-assisted treatment approach could present in a temporary accommodation setting, which is why people experiencing homelessness are our priority right now.

We must continue to balance the importance of helping people stay safe and increase physical distancing, with the other risks relevant to that individual.

Please read our guide to keeping people experiencing homelessness safe if they use opioids. (PDF)

How can I support someone who has an alcohol dependency?

Physical distancing measures mean people may not be able to get alcohol as they would normally. We recognise the potential issues this could present to people experiencing homelessness.

Please read our guide to keeping people experiencing homelessness safe if they have an alcohol dependency. (PDF)

 

Feedback

We are listening to the people who use our services and our staff to learn what we need to do to help people stay safe right now. 

Your feedback

If you have been getting support from one of our services, we would be really interested to hear your feedback. 

Care Opinion is a place where you can share your experience of health or care services, and help make them better for everyone. 

Tell your story on Care Opinion

What we've heard

We'll update this section regularly with the information we've heard and what we're doing in response.

1 May 2020

Disposing of used injecting equipment

We have started delivering safer injecting equipment and naloxone to some of the people who use our services who are unable to travel to a service or pharmacy. Some of our workers suggested there might now be challenges around the safe disposal of used injecting equipment.

We are making sure people understand the importance of safely storing injecting equipment and waste. Our risk assessment for staff gives information on collecting waste as well as delivering equipment. We are providing our workers with puncture-proof containers for their car boots to safely store and transport injecting equipment and waste.

Changes to prescriptions

We have received some positive feedback about the changes to longer take-home prescriptions for medication-assisted treatment. Some people say they feel responsible for their own treatment, trusted and empowered. For some, it’s easier to have a routine when they aren’t scheduling daily visits to the local pharmacy.

We will keep listening to the feedback and analysing our data to understand the impact that the changes to prescriptions are having, and what we can learn going forward. Our priority as always is supporting people to stay safe and well.

Social isolation

We know that a lot of people are isolated at the moment as they can no longer attend services and groups in person.

We are running our groups over video call as much as possible and have been working with DDN, who are developing a calendar of online activities and support.

Red Rose Recovery is also running the LUF (Lancashire User Forum) Lounge Live on their Facebook page at 5pm on a Saturday. It’s an online space for anybody interested in or affected by substance misuse or the criminal justice system.

24 April 2020

Changes in the drugs people are using

People who use our services have told us they are drinking more alcohol and using more prescription drugs like benzodiazepines and gabapentin. Some people are finding them easier to get hold of than illicit drugs right now.

If you use our services and you are using different drugs to usual, please speak to your worker. They will be able to give you some advice to help you stay safe.

You can find our coronavirus alcohol advice here. We are also working on some advice for anyone who is using prescription drugs and wants to stay safe or reduce how much they’re taking. We are collaborating with other providers, including Scottish Drugs Forum, to create and share harm reduction advice.

Update, 11 May: we have now published harm reduction advice for people who use benzodiazepines.

Training for hotel staff supporting people who are homeless

Many people who were previously rough sleeping are now staying in hotels across the country. We are aware that hotel staff don’t have access to training on how best to support people who use drugs and people who have an alcohol dependency. This has resulted in some people being evicted from their hotel accommodation.

We have produced 2 guides with the help of the Salvation Army to help hotel staff support people who are dependent on alcohol and people on medication-assisted treatment.

We are also working with Homeless Link, an NHS Trust and other service providers to support hotel staff as much as possible.