COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

This is affecting us all at work and at home. We’re working hard to keep services running and focusing on the most critical. This means some services may be affected. For help, call 08085 834333.

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Carers and COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Your questions answered

As it stands the advice is clear that from Monday 23 March, we must all stay at home to reduce the risk and spread of the virus. However many carers are asking how they can now provide support to a loved one. In addition to this advice those who are most vulnerable have been written to by the government and have been asked to take additional precautions to shield themselves from the virus and their carers.  

Can I still visit the person I care for?

Yes. The government measures state that you can leave your house to provide care or help for a vulnerable person, including an elderly person. But it is critical that you only visit this person if the care you are providing is absolutely essential and you must not visit if you are displaying symptoms yourself or anyone else you have been in close proximity to. Essential care means activities such as washing the person, administering medication, making sure the person is safe, dressing and preparing meals and drinks.

If the person you care for doesn't have immediate care needs avoid entering their home. You can still provide support by offering to do shopping and picking up essential items like prescriptions during this time. But it’s important that you do not enter the property and you leave items in the doorway. You could have a chat through a window and make sure you keep in regular contact by phone. 

You might also want to think of equipment that might help the person you care for manage independently during this time. The Carers Trust Heart of England can offer information and advice about equipment - 024 7663 2972.

I live with the person I care for, how do I keep us safe? 

The best thing you can do is to both to stay at home during this period of time, this will minimise the risk of infection to you and person you care for.

If it’s not an option for you to remain at home during this time for example you are a key worker, make sure your employee knows your set of circumstances. They may be able to consider adjustments to your role to help you to continue to care.

Plan an online shopping delivery or ask a friend or relative to pick up the essentials for you. Remember you can still go out and buy essential items if necessary but you will want to minimise how many times you do this.

Take additional precautions within the household, such as wiping down surfaces.

I live with the person I care for, what happens if either of us display symptoms?

The government advice now is to initially consult the NHS 111 website. This will direct you to the next steps.

Do not visit the GP or the hospital/walk-in centre if you think you have symptoms.

There is guidance on the Government website about living with vulnerable adults when symptoms might be present in a household. There are also rules around self-isolation when symptoms are present within a household.

I provide essential care for my relative, what happens if I start to display symptoms?

You must not continue to provide care during this period of time as this might place you and the person you care for at risk.

If you do not live with the person you care with, consider any other friends or relatives that can provide the support you ordinarily provide but these cannot be people that you have been in close contact with or display symptoms.

If you do live with the person you care for you need to consider the safest options within the household to maintain distance. This may be hard to do in practice and you might need to explore other living arrangements. The government has advice on this on their website.

You can still keep in touch with the person you care for and consider making regular phone calls.

If there is no-one who can provide support during this time then we recommend you contact Adult Social Care Direct on 024 7683 3003 and they will explore with you what essential support is required.  

Am I eligible for testing as an unpaid carer? 

Yes, as of 4 May unpaid carers are now classified as "essential workers" and are eligible to receive a test, this also means people living within your household who start to display symptoms are eligible.  Testing is most effective within 3 days of symptoms developing. You can apply online for a test to be completed.

How can I plan if our situation changes?

Our recommendation is that you try and plan for any changes in your circumstances now.  This might be writing down key contacts and collating a list of the medication the person you care for is taking.

The Carers Trust Heart of England – Carers Response and Emergency Support Service (CRESS) are encouraging all carers to register with this service during this time. They can help you discuss your wider support networks and write a contingency plan if your situation is to change. They can also provide care for a period of up to 72 hours if you are unable to provide care due to a medical emergency such as a hospital admission, this will help others plan for longer term support. You can contact them on 024 7625 8816 option 1.

The person I care for receives paid care? What will happen?

If you are receiving care provided either by the Local Authority, the NHS or support you organise privately then you may have already received communication around this. Adult Social Care are maintaining essential care during this period of time. There may be some changes to arrangements for care, for example if the person ordinarily takes the person you care for out they will no longer be able to do this. Some services have had to be temporarily postponed such as day activities and respite provision, this is to adhere to government guidance.

If people provide care within your home they will be taking additional precautions, such as washing their hands when they enter and leave your property, it’s important you allow them to do this.

If anyone within the household is unwell and displaying symptoms you must let the care provider know so that they can take all necessary precautions to reduce any risks. You must do this in advance of them visiting.

If you’ve decided you’d rather provide the support yourself during this time, please tell your care provider immediately and then inform Coventry City Council, by contacting Adult Social Care direct on 024 7683 3003 or [email protected]

The person I care for doesn’t understand what’s going on, how do I help them?

This is a really difficult question and one that is not easy to answer. We know that for a lot of people they will not understand the precautions that need to be taken, so might struggle with the idea of staying at home or not following their usual routine. We’ve found some good guidance that might help:

I claim Carers Allowance what will happen if I'm not able to care for the person I'm looking after?  

To help unpaid carers during the Coronavirus outbreak, the Government has introduced a new aspect to the eligibility criteria for claiming Carer’s Allowance, the main benefit for people caring 35 hours or more per week.

The new regulations, which came into force Monday 30 March 2020, allow unpaid carers in England and Wales to continue to claim Carer’s Allowance if they have a temporary break in caring, because they or the person they care for gets coronavirus or if they have to isolate because of it.

The Government has also confirmed that providing emotional support counts towards the Carer’s Allowance threshold of 35 hours of care a week – an issue which has been concerning many carers.

The measures will be reviewed in six months’ time.

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