Life in confinement as experienced by our clients: Christopher's story

01 May 2020

As we continue to live our lives in confinement owing to the coronavirus pandemic, our clients are having to make big adjustments to their lives and in the way they interact with services.

Christopher is considered to be particularly susceptible to the Coronavirus due to underlying health conditions. As a consequence, he has been advised to stay at home and isolate for three months for his own safety. Christopher is also functionally illiterate which restricts his ability to engage with technology. Chris Bellamy, one of our Service Co-ordinators interviewed Christopher recently to get his perspective on life in confinement.

This is how the conversation went.

Chris: How are you interacting with services at the moment?

Christopher: I’ve just got two services involved with me and that’s Golden Key and Second Step. I usually speak to either one of you every day.

It’s quite weird not being able to see people though, or invite a key worker into my home. It would be nice, maybe, if I could put a chair by the front door so I can still have a face-to-face visit.

Chris: Do you feel we should be offering such visits? If you wanted this type of contact do you feel able to ask us for it?

Christopher: Yes, I could ask for this. I haven’t done it so far but I’ve got my food and my dog so I’m alright.

Chris: And can you say how the regular phone calls are helping?

Christopher: It gives me peace of mind and I always get someone to chat to.

Chris: Are you calling us or are we calling you or do you think it is a mixture of both?

Christopher: It’s quite an even split between you calling me or me calling you. I’m missing human contact so it means a hell of a lot to be able to speak to you on the phone.

Chris: What has been helpful to keep you feeling positive during this lockdown?

Christopher: I’ve got my dog and my TV and stereo and the garden. That colouring book has also come in handy. I know I’ve got a simple mind and these things get me by. I don’t need all these fancy gadgets.

Chris: What advice would you give to another client in your position if they were struggling with the isolation?

Christopher: (After some thinking) I wouldn’t know what advice to give to someone else. If I could talk to them then I’m sure I would know what to say but I would need to talk to them first.

Chris: That’s really interesting. Would you like that, if we could put you in contact with another client in a similar position?

Christopher: Yeah, I think that would be ok. I’d be happy to phone someone else.

Chris: Do you think you are getting the information you need about what is happening and how to stay safe?

Christopher: I watch the telly and see the news but it keeps telling me to go online for more information and that really gets to me. What about people like me who don’t use the internet? People forget that there are people out there who can’t read or write or use a computer. It wouldn’t be so bad if there was a phone number. It really gets me.

Chris: Would it be helpful to you if you could phone up to get information?

Christopher: A lot of the numbers start with ‘03’ and can be really expensive to phone and they take the credit on the phone package you buy. Why can’t it be a free number?

Chris: Do you know about NHS 111?

Christopher: No. What’s that?

Chris: It’s a free number you can call if you are worried about your health. You speak to a person on the phone and they ask you questions about who you are and what is wrong and then at the end they give you medical advice about what you should do. You can’t phone this number just for advice but you can phone if you are feeling unwell and don’t know what to do.

Christopher: Ok, thanks. I’ll try and remember that.

Chris: Is there anything else that you want to say about life living in isolation at the moment?

Christopher: I don’t think so. I’ll probably think of something as soon as you put the phone down now though.

Chris: Well that’s ok. If you think of something then you can always give me a call.

Christopher: Ok, I’ll do that. Thanks for all the help, Chris. You have a nice weekend.

 

Christopher didn’t phone back with something to add. We are still working with Christopher throughout this coronavirus pandemic and remain in close contact with him.