Vanessa and Aled are the youngest couple in the street. They have 2 year old twin girls, Lottie and Lizzie.
Vanessa has suffered with postnatal depression and lost her brother in an accident six months ago. She occasionally sees a Community Psychiatric Nurse. She relies heavily on her mother who comes up every day to spend time with her.
Her husband Aled works for the NHS and he is a keen gardener and vegan cook. He is a health care support worker and knows about the coronavirus situation in the local hospital. He knows his wife will be worried about this. He has assured her he will shower in work and that he will be able to stay living with his family, safely.
Lizzie and Lottie are non-identical twins. Lottie seems to be very much smaller than her sister. She is a picky eater but Vanessa is worried that maybe there is a problem.
Vanessa has just missed her second period. If she is pregnant, it is not planned and she is worried that Aled will be cross. She hasn’t told anyone about this yet and wants to get a pregnancy test.
What the pandemic has meant for them:
- Vanessa cannot see her mum every day, this means she is on her own with the twins and this is difficult particularly as she is really exhausted at the moment.
- Aled is worried about living at home with his family if there are coronavirus cases in his workplace but he is equally worried about living away from home as Vanessa won’t cope on her own with the twins and she seems tired all the time.
- Vanessa wants to speak to the Health Visitor and get the twins weighed. The home scales are not reliable for 2 year olds. She isn’t sure if the weight difference is because they are non-identical twins. She might have talked to the Health Visitor about this but doesn’t want to phone around to find where the Health Visitor is just to talk about this.
- Vanessa doesn’t know how to get a pregnancy test easily nowadays. She is worried about queues in pharmacies with the twins, or someone seeing what she is buying. If she is pregnant, she doesn’t know what she wants to do? If she buys an on-line test kit, she is worried that Aled will see it as they have a shared account.
- She doesn’t want to have a virtual appointment with the doctor with the twins in the background. She knows that they are copying everything she says at the moment and knowing her luck they will hear something that she doesn’t want them to repeat in front of Aled.
- Vanessa would like to have a chat with her CPN. She would like to find out if she is at greater risk of post-natal depression if she has another baby. But she hasn’t heard from her for a while and wonders if she has been discharged.
What we did in this kind of situation:
- HDCHC discussed with the Health Board how mental health care was being accessed and managed during the pandemic. We had heard that in some areas people were being discharged without discussion and we wanted to make sure that people could still access support when they needed it, even if it had to be in a very different way.
- HDCHC asked the Health Board questions about how the e-consult system worked. We wanted to know what information people had been given before they used it. We reminded the Health Board that this system did not suit everyone even if they were able to use the technology, sometimes their circumstances meant that it wasn’t appropriate.
- HDCHC asked the Health Board to remind GP Practices that receptionists needed to be able to explain new systems to people clearly. We identified that some receptionists might need training to do this well.
- HDCHC asked the Health Board how health visiting was working now that clinics were not taking place and home visits needed to be avoided. We know that Health Visitors provide a lot of support to young families, particularly where there may not be immediate family available.