Support for carers
Many of you will be anxious about the coronavirus and the effect it might have on you or the person you care for.
Firstly, if you feel that you may have symptoms visit our health and wellbeing page.
You may care for someone who is elderly or has an underlying health condition, and who has been advised to self isolate for 12 weeks. The government guidance for carers is as follows:
If you are caring for someone who is extremely vulnerable due to severe illness from COVID-19, there are some simple steps that you can take to protect them and to reduce their risk at the current time.
Ensure you follow the advice below:
- only care that is essential should be provided
- wash your hands on arrival and often, using soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser
- cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
- put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards
- do not visit or provide care if you are unwell and make alternative arrangements for their care
- provide information on who they should call if they feel unwell, how to use NHS 111 online coronavirus service and leave the number for NHS 111 prominently displayed
- look after your own wellbeing and physical health during this time. Further information on this is available.
The government have also issued guidance for those who provide unpaid care to friends or family.
If as a carer you have any concerns about being stopped when travelling to support the people you care for, and being able to prove you are legitimately travelling, you can use your Carers Emergency Card as proof of your caring role.
Making contingency plans
We encourage carers to make contingency plans as soon as possible, in the event of you becoming unable to continue to care for someone if you contract COVID-19. Is there a friend, family member or local neighbour, who can support you and the person you care for? Talk to family and friends now about this, to help reduce anxiety during this uncertain time.
If you have no support and you become unwell and unable to care, then call the number on your Carers Emergency Card, but only do so in the event of an emergency. If you do not have a Carers Emergency Card visit the Carers Support Centre website to register now. There is no charge.
It may also be worth using this time as an opportunity to tactfully broach awkward subjects which you have wanted to discuss with the person you care for, such as have they ‘got their affairs in order’ e.g. written a will, decided what they want to happen if their or your health deteriorates.
If you work, it is worth taking this opportunity to tell your employer that you are a carer, and discussing any options that are open to you, whether now or in the future.
Carers UK have guidance on developing a contingency plan.
Support from providers and personal assistants
If you or a person you care have domiciliary care agencies (home care) coming in, they have all been trained in infection control and have contingency plans for if their staff are off ill.
If you or the person you care for has a direct payment and your personal assistant becomes ill or is self isolating, consider the contingency plans for who else may be able to support. More information for people who receive direct payments is available on our direct payments and impact of the coronavirus page.
If you or the person you care for need support which is not personal care, such as shopping, posting letters, walking your dog or are isolated, visit our get help and support page to find details of your local volunteer group.
There are dedicated workers to support carers with issues around hospital discharge, either relating to the carer or cared for person.
Southmead Hospital: Sam Radford
Tel: 07557 418 692
Bristol Royal Infirmary: Tracey Lathrope or Angela Robinson
Tel: 07557 441 613 (Tracey)
Tel: 07917 880375 (Angela)
Email: email@example.com (Tracey)
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org (Angela)
South Bristol Hospital: Angela Robinson
Tel: 07917 880375
If you have concerns about a young carer providing inappropriate or excessive care, contact the Access and Response Teams on 01454 866000.
The Carers Support Centre are in touch with and are providing support to the young carers and the families that they work with, or who have been referred to them for support. Contact the Carers Support Centre on 0117 958 9980.
South Glos Parents and Carers understand the demands on time and energy for those caring for children and young people with additional needs. There are times when a little moral support or advice is needed but we physically can’t leave the house whether this is due to the coronavirus or caring responsibilities. This is why South Glos Parents and Carers have developed a virtual support service.
Parents and carers can join an online support group, a relaxed and informal fortnightly evening meet-up to share challenges and celebrate successes with those who truly understand. One-to-one support is also available by arrangement via video call, phone call or email. Visit the South Glos Parents and Carers website for further information on the virtual online support available.
Check the South Glos Parents and Carers Facebook page for details about their closed Facebook group, which you can join for support from the South Glos community of parents and carers who are always on hand to share advice and give moral support.
Local support for carers
The Carers Support Centre website has lots of further information about Covid-19. They are are also supporting carers on the phone or via email, offering information and advice. If you have any concerns, or just need a listening ear contact the Carers Support Centre on Carersline.
0117 965 2200 (10am to 1pm Monday to Friday)
Note: From Monday 6 April, CarersLine will also be open 2pm to 4pm, Monday to Thursday.
If you are a member of a carers group, facilitators are in touch to offer support and to link up members for peer support.
The Carers Support Centre also offer a befriending service for family carers in South Gloucestershire over the phone. It is a great service that is needed even more at the moment. You can read more about befriending and mentoring on their website.
There is further advice for carers on the Carers UK website.