Where is the emergency exit? – co-creating appropriate and clear COVID-19 messages for the most vulnerable

University of St Andrews

Active award

Principal Investigator: Dr Mara van Beusekom

Year Award Started: 2020

Wash your hands’ and ‘stay inside’ – two messages that have played a central role in managing the COVID-19 outbreak. However, the scale and nature of the pandemic means that simple messages have not been universally successful. Some people have been avoiding seeking medical attention for urgent non-COVID-19 health needs to not overload the NHS. Others may show resistance to imposed isolation rules, or struggle to adhere to them due to circumstances. This emergency requires that clear and achievable messages are received by targeted groups. While high-risk individuals who are advised to ‘shield’ receive targeted information, central resources are lacking for others who are vulnerable e.g. due to age, health conditions or social and financial factors. Within communities, resources may be gathered and shared locally to support these groups. As a result, community leads and voluntary groups have a wealth of insight into priority needs and best ways to offer support. To build on this knowledge, the proposed work aims to develop methods for 1) co-developing effective messages with community groups and 2) identifying channels to ensure these messages reach the intended groups. Such methods will be essential to support the rapid development of relevant, clear messages to support vulnerable groups.

Research area: Other conditions