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Practical advice for self-isolation

We’ve put together practical suggestions to help ease our community's concerns about self-isolating through coronavirus (COVID-19)

For those affected, or at high risk of being affected, by the COVID-19 Coronavirus, self-isolation might feel a bit daunting and frustrating. We’ve put together a few practical suggestions for those in our community who may have to self-isolate to help ease some of your concerns.

What if I don’t have enough food?

It’s advised that you ask friends or family to help with grocery shopping or that you use online grocery deliveries while you self-isolate. Most of the big UK supermarkets offer this option but be aware that there’s likely to be an exceptionally high demand at the moment, so try to order as early as possible. It may be worth knowing that some supermarkets do also offer next day delivery at an extra cost, the ability to book multiple slots at a time and/or weekly deliveries, which you can edit.

  • Asda
  • Ocado
  • Waitrose
  • Tesco
  • Morrisons
  • Sainsbury’s

If you order food online or ask a friend/family member to shop for you, make sure you either leave a delivery message for the driver or tell your friend/family member that items should be left outside your house, in the porch or somewhere safe that’s suitable for your home.

You could also consider ordering a takeaway service online or by phone, such as:

  • Deliveroo
  • Just Eat
  • Uber Eats

Again, with these takeaway services be sure to leave a message for the delivery person to leave these outside your house to avoid any unnecessary contact.

It’s expected that advice will change as the situation develops so it’s essential to regularly review the up-to-date information and advice.

What about getting my medication?

Again, you could ask friends or family members to pick up any medications you may need, prescribed or not. If it’s a prescriptive drug you need, you could ring your GP to order a repeat prescription by phone. Please be aware that if someone is picking up a prescribed medication on your behalf, they may need to show ID and/or pay, depending on if you’re exempt or not. The NHS has useful information about picking up medication on behalf of someone else here.

You could also try looking online for organisations that offer free delivery of NHS prescriptions. The NHS have developed a free app, which holds a list of surgeries (although be aware that not all surgeries have been added yet) that offer various services, such as; ordering repeat prescriptions, booking appointments, checking your symptoms. You can find out more about the free app here.

Many pharmacies offer this delivery service free of charge, including Lloyds pharmacy and Boots pharmacy.

Again, remember that whoever is delivering your prescription should leave it somewhere outside your home to avoid any contact.

If buying medication online you must only buy from a registered pharmacy.

You may be aware of Covid-19 Mutual Aid UK*, which is an organisation recently set up and run by a group of volunteers, to support local communities in organising mutual aid throughout the Coronavirus outbreak. Their website holds a list of Facebook support groups, localised to various areas within the UK, offering a range of support and services, including running errands and making phone calls. It’s really important to highlight that as these groups have been set up by individuals, so please prioritise your safety both online and offline, if you decide to join a group.

How to stay safe on Facebook

It may also be worth keeping an eye out for local charities and communities who are continually making plans to increase volunteer support.

What about my appointments?

Depending on the type of appointment, it might be that you can have these over the phone or online, via skype. This may be a good alternative for talking therapies. For other appointments it will be best to seek advice from your healthcare team on what you should do.

What about caring responsibilities?

If you or a loved one need a visit from a healthcare professional or carer during the time you’re in self-isolation, make sure you inform them of the situation so they can then follow any guidance provided by their employer. You can do this by letting your Local Authority or the care provider know. If you’re self-isolating but you provide care for someone you don’t live with, you should make your Local Authority aware that this care or support is still necessary.

For further information on self-isolation, take a look at the GOV.UK website for guidance on home isolation and a useful blog on self-isolation and why it’s important.

Don’t forget that our Online Support Communities are always there as a safe online space where you can be part of a community, connect with others and share any worries or concerns you may have. Our community have recently been sharing their tips and advice for staying positive during self-isolation.

You can always get in touch with our Support and Information Line by ringing 0808 800 0004, emailing us at or starting a live chat. The Support and Information Line is open Monday to Friday from 9.00am to 5.00pm.

If at any time you’re concerned about how you’re feeling and/or you feel your symptoms may be getting worse, call your specialist medical team, NHS 111, or 999 if it’s an emergency.

*Please note. We’ve listed services in this blog that we think could provide support to our community. As we haven’t tested every one, we can’t necessarily recommend them.

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About the author

I’m a member of the Children and Families Team at The Brain Tumour Charity and previously practised as a Speech and Language Therapist, working with children of all ages. I’m dedicated to supporting children, young people and families affected by a brain tumour by being there every step of the way to provide help, understanding and support, when it’s needed most.

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