Maximising contact points for wellbeing
1,000’s of contact points between health agencies and members of the public are going to be created over the next 6 months through the Covid-19 Vaccination Roll-Out and the establishment of Rapid Testing Hubs. Within a general theme of ‘protecting against the virus’ (via vaccination and mass testing) it has been identified that this is a great opportunity to highlight other means by which people can protect themselves and the role being active can play in improving physical and mental wellbeing.
A number of Active Partnerships have been working closely with local partners to identify some simple, exciting and secure ways to build physical activity and healthy lifestyle messaging and advice into the approaches that are being taken within vaccination centres.
In some areas pull up, wipe clean banners have been used to provide physical activity messaging using QR codes and weblinks and include a call to action to find out more about locally available services and opportunities to be active. Other areas, e.g. Somerset Sport and Physical Activity Partnership are looking to train vaccine volunteers (including those who do car parking and crowd control) with brief interventions on physical activity to spread the word or using plasma screens to share videos and messages for public health messages. Plasma screens provide a great option because the messages can be changed to suit different audiences as the vaccination roll out works through the different age groups/audiences. GreaterSport have produced a toolkit of downloadable assets with positive messaging about keeping moving during lockdown which are suitable for primary and community settings and can be used on plasma / pull ups & leaflets.
Northamptonshire Sport are working with their local Public Health team and emergency planners to identify how to maximise both the places (vaccine centres) and people (immunisers, marshals, helpers, volunteers, nurses) to provide a multitude of visual reminders and verbal pointers to nudge people towards measures they can go home and take, as well as exploring incentives and rewards for people taking up the services.
Leicester-Shire and Rutland Sport have worked with their local partners and the approach taken in Hinckley and Bosworth’s vaccination centre has seen wipeable physical activity banners as part of the centre dressing. Each person attending the centre is being offered a health booklet full of positive lifestyle messages and tips (including physical activity) to support them during and beyond the Pandemic and to read whilst they wait for 15 minutes post vaccination and to take away with them afterwards.
Active Surrey have worked with some of their centres to provide information for people to read whilst waiting regarding falls prevention. Age UKs recent research on the effects of the pandemic highlighted the huge negative impact it has had on older people’s confidence and balance with over 3.2 million people not able to walk as far as they used. It is hoped the packs will provide some much needed support to this age group.
Tracey Rowland is the Independence and Prevention Co-ordinator for the Guildford and Waverley Integrated Care Partnership. She comments:
We have been engaging with our local residents at GLive and Cranleigh Village Hall Covid vaccination centres over the last couple of weeks, around falls prevention. We have handed out a total of 1,920 Falls Prevention Packs to those 80yrs and over, which contain the Active Surrey 65+ Keeping Active information sheet. Many residents have mentioned that they need to improve their strength and balance, so to be able to highlight this information within the pack has been very useful.
Simon Jones , the Cultural Services Manager at Hinckley & Bosworth Borough Council said,
We find ourselves in a unique position where our vulnerable residents are attending vaccination centres on mass. What a fabulous opportunity this presents. We can get essential behaviour change messages over to this cohort under the banner of preventing wider health conditions. This approach which will see an initial print run of 10,000 booklets distributed, forms part of the solution to combatting Covid 19 in the longer term. Action is required so we don’t miss out on this once in a lifetime occasion
Their approach truly sets out to make every contact count for vulnerable residents and that while vaccination sites need to be sterile they do not need to be sterile looking. This approach was negotiated and agreed between the council, CCG and Vaccination Centre Manager as the centre was set up.
Working in partnership with Leicester-Shire and Rutland Sport (the local Active Partnership) the borough council and public health partners are now looking at ways to reinforce the messaging when people return for their second vaccination, for example physical activity messages on lamp posts, bill boards, kiosks on the way into the centre and considering how they can help people to come back to the centre when they are allowed to reopen for activity.
This is only the beginning and more partnerships are being formed across the country with vaccination centres, health settings, pharmacies and GP practices to ensure the physical activity message is reinforced and people are provided with information of local opportunities and support on how to become more active in a way that is appropriate for them.
Co authored by
Nicki Couzens, Active Partnerships
Suzy Gardner, Sport England