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COVID-19 Information for unpaid carers

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Updated 2 March 2021

We recognise that this is a stressful and uncertain time for carers during the COVID-19 situation. We have some advice and information we hope will help you.

Unpaid Carers and COVID-19 vaccines 

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) guidance recommends that carers who are 'in receipt of Carer's Allowance or those who are the main carer of an elderly or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if the carer falls ill, should also be offered vaccination' alongside people with underlying health conditions in Priority Level 6. Carers 65 and over will have been offered the vaccine by this point. We are advised that the vaccine will be offered more widely as soon as possible. 

The latest advice can be found on the NHS website.

The Department of Health & Social Care Vaccines Team have advised that they "hope to publish guidance on vaccinating unpaid carers within the next couple of weeks." Once known we will share it on this page but you may also wish to look at the Carers UK website.


Looking after the person you care for

What happens if the care agency is unable to attend or if I become unwell and unable to care?

If you have a care agency that helps you with the person you care for, please note that due to the situation service providers such as care agencies may struggle to supply full services to everyone. Limited staffing resources may mean they have to prioritise the most vulnerable clients.  Any queries about care agencies, for example about visits should be addressed in the first instance to the agency concerned, and if that does not help, to Plymouth City Council, 01752 668000.

Family and neighbours may be able to help more in the current situation, but as a carer, please be prepared with a plan in case the care provider of the person(s) for whom you care is temporarily unavailable, or you   are unable to care.  It's best to ensure that you have extra provisions and enough medication to cover delays.  Carers UK have guidance to help you plan.

If you haven't already registered with the Carers Emergency Response Service, this is a good time to do this. Further information can be found on the Gem care website.

For further information call 967221or email antoniawarburton@gemcare.org.uk

Caring for Carers can help and support you in this area. 

You can also please contact Plymouth 01752 668000

ICE - In case of Emergency. This is a national scheme for anybody with a mobile phone. Just make sure that the people whom you would want contacted in an emergency are saved in contacts with ICE ahead of their name (or ICE 1, ICE 2 etc.).  Smartphones. Most smartphones have ICE or health apps that can give more detailed medical information in case of emergency.

What measures are paid carers taking to protect themselves and the people they care for from catchingCOVID-19?

All our carers wear full PPE to deliver care to those in their own homes and they continue to provide a sitting service to those that have been assessed as needing this requirement by social workers, or under a private arrangement by people contacting them direct.

We are constantly discussing and addressing the issues around Domiciliary Care staff and possible exposure to CV-19 with the Public Health England (PHE) Protection Team.

We appreciate this is a worrying time for all carers and are both proud and grateful in the way all our home care providers have addressed the challenges that have presented themselves on a daily basis. Since the start of this pandemic commissioners have fully supported all our domiciliary care providers and their staff by sharing the latest guidance received from the Government as soon as it is received and conducting twice weekly conference calls to discuss any concerns. We have also, amongst other initiatives, prepared a weekly newsletter with the latest advice and provided examples of shared good practice. We have set up a unique mailbox that is monitored 7 days a week to ensure that any immediate concerns are addressed. Daily calls are made so that no provider runs out of the essential recommended PPE and to check on the status of staffing and more importantly the care provided to all our service users. This support is ongoing and will not cease until a full return to business as usual is seen.

How can I help the person I care for with a cognitive problem such as dementia, autism or learning disabilities or mental health problems to cope with having to remain in lock down with their usual routine activities cancelled?

Please note that Public Health England have amended the movement restrictions for those with health needs or learning disabilities, some carer's are now taking two short periods of exercise a day to help support the cared for. Alzheimer Society or Dementia UK have fantastic publications to support Behavioural and Psychological Symptoms of dementia, with specific documents related to COVID-19.    

Re-think have very useful information on their websites for carers of people with mental ill health.

What is happening with the carer's service?

Caring for Carers continue to be available on the telephone during the usual hours of 9am - 5pm Monday-Friday and team members will be on hand to talk to you during these hours, and listen to your worries and concerns and provide support and advice.

I am struggling to get food and medication

As a carer you may be struggling with getting food or medication and do not want to risk going to the shops.

Caring for Plymouth is a service that Plymouth City Council has set up along with Livewell Southwest and a number of local charities that you can call upon that has volunteers that can help you with shopping, medicine collection, support with paying bills and accessing money, and emotional support.

  • Call 01752 668000

NHS Responders are another resource for people who are self-isolating/shielding including carers - you can now ask for support from NHS Volunteer Responders. The can help collecting shopping, medication or other essential supplies. They can also ask for a 'check in and chat' phone call to help prevent loneliness. People can access this support by phoning the Royal Voluntary Service on 0808 196 3646 (8am to 8pm) or visiting their website.

How do I protect myself and the person I care for from getting COVID-19?

We are all expected to take social distancing measures to reduce social interaction between people in order to reduce the transmission of COVID-19.  The government has produced guidance on how best to do this.  They advise certain groups of people who are at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19 to be particularly stringent in following social distancing measures.

Guidance on shielding and protecting people who are clinically extremely vulnerable from COVID-19

I think I need PPE, where can I get it from?

Is available if you meet the recommended criteria for use, such as if the person you care for shows symptoms of having COVID-19 or if they are shielded group.  Please contact Caring for Carers, as above.

Who can get tested forCOVID-19?

NHS Test and Trace: how it works

Help for carrying out caring role

Free library of videos to help you in your role of carer

How can I stay well and healthy?

It's important that you look after your own health and wellbeing during this difficult time. 

There is lots of information on how you can do this, including exercising that you can do at home and how to keep your mind healthy.

Draw on support you might have through your friends, family and other networks during this time. Try to stay in touch with those around you over the phone, by post, or online. Let people know how you would like to stay in touch and build that into your routine. This is also important in looking after your mental wellbeing and you may find it helpful to talk to them about how you are feeling.

Up to date information from the Government and Plymouth City Council on COVID-19

For the most up to date information on COVID-19:

I'm worried about my finances

If you are worried about your finances there are several government schemes now available to help businesses and the self-employed. They have information on their COVID-19 website about the financial support that is available during this crisis

Carers UK have written some useful guidance on changes to benefits, assessments and support due to the COVID-19.

For advice on your finances, including how to claim benefits or any other financial information you can refer into Advice Plymouth.

For help managing debts there is the Debt Telephone Drop In service on 01752 982 880.

Plymouth City Council have advice about support with people struggling financially.

Please see some information to help you and your loved ones through this time.

Icon for pdf Supporting children and adults with severe learning disabilities at home during COVID-19 [333.27KB]

Icon for word Helping people to manage emotions and distressed behaviour during COVID-19 [169.5KB]

Icon for pdf Supporting your loved one at home during COVID-19 [176.04KB]

lease be assured that if you believe you may have contracted the virus, we will do all we can to ensure you and the person you care for will receive the care you need to stay safe and as well as possible. In this circumstance please call Plymouth City council on 01752 668000.

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