Here at ECHO we know that many families are worried about Coronavirus (COVID-19) and how it may potentially affect you and your children.
The current situation is rapidly evolving, and we are taking care not to provide conflicting or confusing information. We are currently following the advice set out on the NHS website and the UK government as it is updated with the latest information and recommendations. You can find all the latest guidance below along with an FAQ which we are regularly updating.
We are in regular contact with Evelina London Children’s Hospital and other charities – as soon as we have any updated information we will share it on this page.
The BCCA (British Congenital Cardiac Association) has published updated guidance for patients and parents about returning to work and education. This information was published on 2nd September 2020 and can be found on the BCCA website.
The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health has published guidance on shielding for children and young people. This information was updated on 10 June 2020 and is available on the RCPCH website.
If you are staying at or near Evelina London Children’s Hospital below is an up-to-date list of hotels, supermarkets and food delivery services currently operating near the hospital.
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses which may cause illness in animals or humans. In humans, several coronaviruses are known to cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases.
The most recently discovered coronavirus causes coronavirus disease COVID-19.
Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.
But these symptoms do not necessarily mean you have the illness. The symptoms are similar to other illnesses that are much more common, such as cold and flu.
How to avoid catching or spreading coronavirus:
Watch this video to learn how to properly wash your hands: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bQCP7waTRWU
As of 18th August 2020 government advice has been updated.
The guidance for the clinically extremely vulnerable is that shielding has been paused.
If you’re clinically extremely vulnerable you were advised to take extra precautions during the peak of the pandemic in England. This is known as ‘shielding’.
The government is advising that you do not need to shield at the moment. This is because the rates of transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the community have fallen significantly.
Read the full government advice on shielding and protecting people who are clinically extremely vulnerable:
As of 02/09/20 the BCCA has advised that:
Now that the levels of COVID-19 in the community have fallen, government advice in all parts of the UK is that shielding is no longer necessary so that clinically extremely vulnerable patients can return to education or to work. The advantages of returning to work or education extends beyond the educational and financial implications and includes social interaction, prevention of isolation and mental and physical wellbeing.
Patients with congenital heart disease should continue to follow government advice with regards to COVID-19 including advice about returning to work and school.
Detailed information on return to school and work has been published for each of the nations of the UK.
This includes advice for those who are clinically extremely vulnerable (those who have been shielding) which include some adults and children with congenital heart disease. If you are clinically extremely vulnerable you should have received a letter confirming this or have been told directly by your GP or hospital clinician.
This advice is that those in the clinically extremely vulnerable group no longer need to follow previous shielding advice. Guidance advises attending school and returning to work for this group of patients as the remainder of the population. Details of each nation’s arrangements and associated precautions are found at the links below.
While patients who have been shielding can return to work and to education, they should continue to follow the advice on social distancing, hand washing, cleaning and should try to keep overall social interactions low.
Read the full update: https://www.bcca-uk.org/pages/news_box.asp?NewsID=19495724
You can also find guidance on your child’s return to school from RCPCH (Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health).
For all cases of Coronavirus (Covid-19), those being treated in hospital is in isolation so these patients do not cause a threat to others.
Check your hospital’s current guidance about attending appointments as it is highly likely they will suggest attending necessary appointments and avoiding unnecessary attendance.
Current Evelina London advice:
As we start to treat more people with the virus, we will need to postpone other non-urgent appointments. If your child’s appointment is postponed, you will be contacted in advance by the team caring for your child. Please understand that this will only happen if completely necessary and is a measure to keep both your child and others safe. If your child has a hospital appointment, please attend as normal unless you hear otherwise.
You can find updates from the Evelina London here:
If you think you might have coronavirus or you’ve been in close contact with someone who has it:
The 111 coronavirus service will tell you if you need to continue to stay at home (self-isolate) or if you need medical help.
If a family member is concerned that they might have COVID-19, advise them that it is best to following the advice above, and avoid contact with others. The NHS website has a list of frequently asked questions about coronavirus that may be useful in these situations.
NHS advice states:
Hailing the resilience of those who have been shielding, the Health and Social Care Secretary confirmed from Monday 6 July they will be able to spend time outdoors in a group of up to 6 people including those outside of their household, while maintaining social distancing.
Those who are shielding and live alone or are single parents with children will also be able to create a ‘support bubble’ with one other household of any size, following the same rules already in place for the wider population.
From Saturday 1 August, the guidance will then be relaxed so clinically extremely vulnerable people will no longer be advised to shield, but support will remain available from NHS volunteers and local councils. People will retain their priority for supermarket delivery slots, and still be able to access help with shopping, medication, phone calls and transport to medical appointments.
While this group of clinically extremely vulnerable people should continue to follow strict social distancing measures, they will be able to participate in more activities such as visiting shops and places of worship.
From 1 August, those who need to work and cannot do so from home will be able to return to work as long as their workplace is COVID secure, adhering to the guidance available.
Government advice shared on 16 March gives information about who should stay at home, how to prepare and guidance for you and your family during your time staying at home.
Read the government advice here:
We recommend that you have back up medicine, such as some extra packets easily available.
However we don’t advise that you start stockpiling your child’s medicine.
Carers UK have collated helpful information about being a carer during the Coronavirus pandemic which is available on their website.
Established 36 years ago, ECHO is parent led with heart parents on our board of trustees, and we have a strong relationship with the Evelina Guys & St Thomas NHS trust, NHS England, other organisations including other children’s and adults heart charities throughout the heart community.
We will continue with our support programmes and events based on guidance from the NHS. We are in communication with supporters who are fundraising for ECHO and will be closely monitoring updates as to how best support our members.
Please follow @echoukcharity and subscribe to our e-news for the latest updates from ECHO.
Continue to plan fundraising events, contact us if you are concerned about your plans, you can still donate – families need charities like ECHO to ensure they get support and information when they need it most.
The news about the Coronavirus (Covid-19) may be causing you and your family to feel stressed.
During times of stress, pay attention to your own needs and feelings. Engage in healthy activities that you enjoy and find relaxing. Exercise regularly, keep regular sleep routines and eat healthy food. Keep things in perspective.
Public health agencies and experts in all countries are working on the outbreak to ensure the availability of the best care to those affected.
If your child is a cardiac patient at the Evelina London Children’s Hospital, support is available from the Clinical Psychology team. However, we ask that you are patient as they are running a limited service during this time. Watch this message from Niki Gregg, Clinical Psychologist at the Evelina London’s Paediatric Cardiology team.
See the below resources from the World Health Organisation for more infomation on managing stress during this time.
We’ll be updating this web page and using our social media channels and closed Facebook group for ECHO members to share any updates as soon as we have them and keep our community updated.
Facebook @echoukcharity | Twitter @echoukcharity | Instagram @echoukcharity
Please note ECHO are not medical professionals therefore if you require specific advice please call NHS 111.