COVID-19 in North Somerset: stories of shielding and self-isolating

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Summary of report content

Healthwatch North Somerset conducted research into stories of shielding and self-isolating. The report summarises the feedback and stories they have heard from local people about their experience of shielding or self-isolating during the lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In June, 45 shielding and self-isolating residents agreed to tell Healthwatch North Somerset about their experiences of seeking information and government’s guidance related to COVID-19, the effect of lockdown on their wellbeing, and their support need and satisfaction with the support they received.

Of the survey respondents, 80% considered themselves to be at high risk from CV19 but only 23% of them received a letter or text advising them to shield. 72% said they had an existing health condition whilst 58% are aged 70 or over. 58% live by themselves and 29% of all respondents do not receive any help from family or friends. 22% do not have access to the Internet and 13% did not find it easy to understand the information about how to keep themselves and others safe during COVID-19. 37% found it difficult to get clear information or advice about particular topics especially those relating to their health. 29% experienced changes to the delivery of their healthcare due to CV19 and from those 38% rated the communication received about the changes as poor or very poor. 63% said they felt isolated or lonely in lockdown. 54% felt this affected their wellbeing and impacted on their physical health. 90% said that they received the support they needed from the Community Aid groups and 92% were happy or very happy with the support provided.

As a result of these findings, Healthwatch North Somerset recommends that information should be clear and concise, with guidelines that are age and condition specific to keep residents safe from a virus as well as information on who should be shielding. Empower residents by increasing local radio stations and papers to inform residents who do not use the internet and give them links to local community support as well as locating technical support so they can use video conferencing and health apps. GP surgeries to provide clear guidelines to patients on the requisition and collection of repeat prescriptions and managing routine and regular tests as well as link vulnerable people to social prescribers or primary care mental health workers.

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General details

Report title 
COVID-19 in North Somerset: stories of shielding and self-isolating
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch North Somerset
Date of publication 
Monday, 11 January, 2021
Date evidence capture began 
Monday, 1 June, 2020
Date evidence capture finished 
Tuesday, 30 June, 2020
Type of report 
Patient experience
Key themes 
Cleanliness hygiene and infection control
Information providing
Quality of care
Healthwatch reference number 

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
What type of organisation requested the work 
Primary research method used 
How was the information collected? 
If an Enter and View methodology was applied, was the visit announced or unannounced? 

Details of health and care services included in the report

Primary care services 
GP practice

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
Age group 
25-64 years
65-85 years
85 +
Specific ethnicity if known 
English/Welsh/Scottish/Northern Irish/British
Sexual orientation 
Not known
Does the information include public's views? 
Does the information include carer's, friend's or relative's views? 
Does the information include staff's views? 
Not known
Does the information include other people's views? 
What was the main sentiment of the people who shared their views? 

Outcomes and impact

Were recommendations made by local Healthwatch in the report? 
Does the information contain a response from a provider? 
Is there evidence of impact in the report? 
Is there evidence of impact external to the report? 

Network Impact
Relationships that exist locally, regionally, nationally have benefited from the work undertaken in the report
Implied Impact
Where it is implied that change may occur in the future as a result of Healthwatch work. This can be implied in a provider  response, press release or other source. Implied impact can become tangible impact once change has occurred.
Tangible Impact
There is evidence of change that can be directly attributed to Healthwatch work undertaken in the report.