Carers Coronavirus FAQs (April 2020)

A series of Frequently Asked Questions regarding carers and COVID-19. If there are any other questions you would like answering, be sure to get in touch.

Where can I get the latest up-to-date information about coronavirus (COVID-19)?

You can find the latest information about Coronavirus by using the following link: Department of Health Coronavirus advice

What do I do if I have coronavirus symptoms?

  • Do not leave your home if you or someone you live with have coronavirus symptoms
  • Do not leave your home if you have either:
    • a high temperature– this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
    • a new, continuous cough– this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
  • To protect others, do not go to places like a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Stay at home.
  • Use the 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do: NHS 111 COVID 19 symptom checker. Only call 111 if you cannot get help online.

Do I need to stay away from the person I am caring for?

The link below will take you to detailed helpful information about your caring role, including the following:

  • Who are those people who are clinically extremely vulnerable?
  • General advice for carers
  • Protecting you and the person you care for
  • Caring for someone in the extremely vulnerable group
  • Accessing alternative care if you are unable to care

Department of Health Guidance for those who provide unpaid care to friends or family

People who are in the clinically extremely vulnerable category are at high risk of contracting the virus also known as “Shielded category” however we must follow the social distancing guidelines which can be found here to prevent/reduce the spread of infection. Government advice on social distancing and mental wellbeing

Should I still be allowing care workers to come into my home?

Any essential carers or visitors who support you with your everyday needs can continue to visit unless they have any of the symptoms of coronavirus. Everyone coming to your home should wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds on arrival to your house and often while they are there.

Care workers are provided with personal protective equipment (PPE) and will minimise the risk of spread of infection by changing their PPE between each care visit and between each care task, they will wash their hands regularly and use hand sanitiser and will also use disposable gloves for each care task they provide.

Ultimately it is your choice, the Government is not recommending that people cancel their care

You, your family and care workers are required to follow strict guidelines when caring for or living with people who have symptoms or are in the same household as someone who has symptoms.

You can find this guidance here: NHS Self isolation advice

I care for someone who is in an at-risk group, should I self-isolate?

This is a personal decision but if you must visit the person you care for, stringently practice good hand/respiratory hygiene and social distancing measures.

For more advice, please use the following link: COVID-19: guidance on shielding and protecting people defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable

If we go into full lockdown in the future, as a carer will I still be able to fetch essential supplies of food and medication?

There will always be the need to fetch essentials such as food or medication even if there is a move to stricter lockdown rules.

Many shops are currently offering protected shopping times in the morning to vulnerable people to reduce exposure to the infection.

You can prepare ahead by setting up online shopping, although the delivery slots are difficult to book as many people are using this facility.

You could contact our wellbeing services who will be able to share information about local community initiatives supporting people in difficulty. You can also register for support for an extremely vulnerable person here: Get coronavirus support as a clinically extremely vulnerable person

How can I protect the person I am caring for?

If you live with those you care for :

If you think that you have been in contact with someone with Coronavirus, take all precautions and follow the Government guidelines on, use the Coronavirus Helpline 0800 028 8327 and NHS symptom checker.

How do I get my shopping?

Many supermarkets are offering priority shopping hours for NHS staff and vulnerable customers as a registered carer we can provide a letter for you to show you are a registered carer this may also enable you to access online shopping slots. Morrisons are offering a selection of emergency boxes as detailed below: Morrisons Food Boxes

Morrisons have extended their range of Food Boxes,

  • Vegetarian Food Box
  • Meat Food Box
  • Market Kitchen Square Meals (Microwave Meals 8)
  • Market Kitchen Meal Maker (add rice, potatoes, pasta)
  • Family Meat Box
  • Ramadan Food Box (Halal Selection Food for Ramadan)

Contingency planning what help can I get?

If you haven’t done so already, think about putting a contingency plan for the person you care for together. Carers Trust HofE can help you with this if you are not sure.

Make sure that you keep yourself up to date with all the latest changes and developments in case this affects you as a carer. It’s important that you have a support network around you so when you are making your plan add into this all the things that you will need to make sure that you are able to carry on caring.

If you dont live with the person that you care for :

It is very important to keep in regular contact with the person you are caring for. You could do this through phone, email or setting up video calls with them.

It is still really important to spend time with your family members however we are having to do this in different ways at the moment due to the restrictions currently in place. An example of this could be to set up a WhatsApp family group or access one of our services such as Care Companion or Care we Share. If online isn’t possible, then just regular phone calls will be enough to offer valuable support to that person.

If the person you care for normally has carers come in to support them, check with the care company to make sure that nothing has changed and that they are taking all precautions and following Government guidelines. You can also ask if they have an emergency plan in place for the person you care for.

Can I get someone to collect my medication for me?

It is perfectly okay to ask someone to collect your prescription for you.

Pharmacies are open as usual however it is vital that you do not visit if you are in the vulnerable category, are over 70 or if someone in your house has a temperature and has had a persistent cough.

You can ask family or friends/neighbours if they could collect it for you. It may also be possible to have your prescription delivered if you speak to your pharmacy about this.

If you are still struggling then you can call the Carers Trust HofE where one of our wellbeing workers may be able to put you in touch with someone from your community to support you.

I’m due to have an assessment for my benefits, will my benefits be affected?

The government has confirmed that all reviews and assessments for disability benefits are suspended for three months as from 24 March 2020.

This is a temporary measure and if you receive any during this period they will not be affected. Job centres are also limiting public access to their offices and will only be doing pre-booked arranged bookings at present.

What does the Government Coronavirus Bill mean for me as a carer?

The government has introduced the Emergency draft Bill to help the NHS and local authority’s tackle the Coronavirus.

Through the bill, the Government will reduce the need for Local Authorities to carry out an assessment of needs for the people that carers care for. This will also reduce the number of carer support plans and care and support plans.

The Government has said that these are to only be done during this time when strictly necessary as is a temporary measure for as long as required in response to the situation.

What happens if my employer has to temporarily close due to coronavirus?

If you and your employer both agree, your employer might be able to keep you on the payroll if they’re unable to operate or have no work for you to do because of coronavirus (COVID-19). This is known as being ‘on furlough’.

You can find out more here: Check if your employer can use the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme