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Information for carers

Information about looking after a family member, friend or neighbour who would not cope without your support during the coronavirus pandemic. Please note if adult social care are already helping you to arrange care for the person you look after, please do not cancel that package of care.

Frequently asked questions

Protect yourself and others by following the hygiene and infection control guidelines on the NHS website. It details what action you should take and when.

If you are worried that you or someone you look after has coronavirus, NHS 111 provides direct guidance through the online coronavirus helpline. Let them know you are a carer.

In Leicester, Age UK have a coronavirus helpline which provides useful local information. The telephone number for this service is . Further information can be found on the Age UK website.

If you look after an older person, there is lots of local information about support available on the Leicester Ageing Together website.

The government’s guidance on the mental health and wellbeing aspects of coronavirus provides practical advice on what you can do to look after your mental wellbeing during the coronavirus outbreak.

The Leicester Carer Support Service is also providing Mindfulness for Beginners sessions to anyone looking after someone over the age of 18 in Leicester City. For further information about these sessions, you email the staff directly at nicky.drew@ageukleics.org.uk or ray.gandhi@ageukleics.org.uk

The Carers Centre LLR is also offering support to family carers. You can contact them on 0116 2510999 or find out more about the services they have on offer by visiting the Carers Centre website.

The government’s guidance regarding social distancing measures does not specify that proof of providing essential care is required. However, some kind of 'proof' might be useful for carers leaving the home for short periods

If you feel that this would be useful, you can obtain a free Carer Passport from the Leicester Carer Support Service on 0116 2220538.

The Carer Passport is designed to raise awareness of caring and eases carer recognition in a variety of situations. The passport will be recognised across Leicester, Leicestershire & Rutland.

The government’s guidance for those who provide unpaid care for friends or family includes general guidance for carers, as well as advice for young carers on accessing education, as well as accessing support through your school, college or university.

For further support as a young carer, you can make a referral to our Duty and Assessment Service on 0116 454 1004 (option 1).

The Government and NHS has issued guidance about who is at increased risk from coronavirus.

The Government guidance introduces ‘shielding’. This means reducing physical contact between vulnerable people and others to minimise their risk of getting coronavirus.

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

Anyone who doesn’t have symptoms can now access free rapid coronavirus testing twice a week. Carers can access this to help keep themselves and the person they look after safe. The rapid tests can be collected from selected sites or delivered to your home address.

You will need to register their positive, negative or void results online or by calling 119. If positive, you should self-isolate and order a confirmatory PCR test.

Rapid tests should not be used if you have coronavirus symptoms. If you have symptoms, you need to self-isolate and get a PCR test.

You may be able to get the COVID-19 vaccine if any of the following apply:

  • you are a main carer for someone at high risk from COVID-19
  • your GP record shows you are a carer
  • you get a Carer's Allowance or other support following an assessment by your local authority

You may be able to book appointments at a larger vaccination centre or pharmacy.

Book your vaccination appointment online at NHS.UK or call 119 to enquire.

Many residential care homes have taken steps to restrict or prevent visits to minimise the risk of transmission. Whilst you may find it upsetting not to be able to visit your loved one, it is vital for infection control. In exceptional circumstances, such as those receiving palliative care, limited contact may be allowed, and you will be advised accordingly by the care provider regarding how to protect yourself and your loved one.

Subject to restrictions set out by the Government, we have advised that care homes may put together their own policies for indoor visits where video/ phone calls or ‘window visits’ are not feasible for care homes or beneficial to residents. These are subject to various restrictions to keep residents, staff, and the community safe.

If you are unable to visit someone you usually care for, consider how technology might help you keep in touch and connect with them. Perhaps explore Facetime or Skype as a way to talk face to face, though at a distance.

Jointly is an innovative mobile and online app (web, iOS, Android) developed by Carers UK that is designed by carers for carers. It is designed to make caring easier, less stressful and more organised by making communication and coordination between those who share the care as easy as a text message.

There is also technology that can help with particular tasks, in case you can't be around, such as managing taking medication. Read more about different types of remote technology that are available to help on the Carers UK website.

Care homes, supported living and home care providers are familiar with the Government guidance detailing how they can maintain delivery of care and reduce the transmission of coronavirus. If you wish to read this, it can be found below:

The government's Stay at home guidance for households with possible coronavirus infection states that if you live with others and you are the first in the household to have symptoms of coronavirus, then you must stay at home for 10 days.  The 10-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill.

Those living with vulnerable individuals (such as the elderly and those with underlying health conditions) are advised where possible to move them out of the home to stay with friends or family for the duration of the home isolation period. If you cannot do this, there is information on how to minimise contact with vulnerable individuals in the government guidance.

If you are an unpaid carer who has to self-isolate due to yourself or a household member having coronavirus symptoms, you can access testing to confirm whether or not it is coronavirus.

If someone that you care for requires support and you are unable to provide your usual support go to GOV.UK to register and identify the support required. This includes help with getting food, shopping deliveries, collecting medications and any additional care needed. Visit the Support for residents webpage for more information. Support may include shopping, or simply a friendly chat. Email c19support@leicester.gov.uk or call 0116 4542300.

Make sure that you have an up-to-date contingency or back up plan in place in case you’re unable to carry on looking after your loved one because you fall ill and, if you can, make cover arrangements with trusted neighbours, friends or family members. If you haven't yet made a plan see Carer's UK Advice on creating a contingency plan but you can also contact the Leicester Carer Support Service on 0116 222 0538 who will be able to help you.

Make sure your GP / medical professionals know that you are a carer. Ask for this to be added to your GP's 'Carer Register'. For information on how to do this, please see Carer First's guidance on their Let your GP know webpage or ask the Leicester Carer Support Service on 0116 2220538.

Preparing for hospital

It is useful to prepare a single hospital bag for the person you look after. This should include:

  • Their emergency contacts
  • A list of the types of medication they take (including dose and frequency)
  • Any details of planned care appointments
  • Things you would need for an overnight stay (for example, snacks, pyjamas, toothbrush, medication).
  • If they have an advanced care plan, please include that. You could also prepare one for yourself if you feel that you are at higher risk from coronavirus.

Locally, there is also a ‘Message in a Bottle’ scheme which encourages everyone to keep their personal and medical details on a standard form in a bottle in the fridge in case the emergency services need that information. The Leicester Carer Support Service can provide you with more information about this scheme and the best way of getting one to you if needed.

Utilities

Ensure to let your energy supplier know, if the person you care for is vulnerable, of pensionable age, has a disability or a long-term medical condition. Each energy supplier keeps a Priority Services Register of people who may need additional assistance and it’s free to be added to the list. Gas and electricity suppliers have agreed an emergency package of measures to ensure vulnerable people do not get cut off amid the  coronavirus outbreak.

For those self-isolating from coronavirus due to age, an underlying health condition, or if you are identified as being in one of the high risk groups, Seven Trent Water encourage you to join their Priority Service Register. Contact them on 0345 750 0500.

  • Charity and voluntary group support
  • Mental wellbeing support
  • MyChoice - our online local group and service directory. Although services may not be running as normal some may have adapted their service provisions.
  • ONE Prepared - ensures that their residents are able to find their official local support network for direct help. Simply enter your postcode to get started
  • Covid-19 Mutual Aid UK - get local support
  • Main supermarkets - are looking to support vulnerable and older people by offering protected shopping time. Contact your local supermarket for more information.

If you need to provide care to support a vulnerable person, you need to do so safely. Full guidance on social distancing can be found on GOV.UK.

Repeat prescriptions

You can sign up to a repeat prescription delivery service if the person you care for is reliant on regular prescription medication. For further information and to check if your GP surgery uses this service see Free online prescription service (NHS).

Shopping

You can shop online for grocery items and have them delivered. All home deliverers have measures in place to prevent infection spread including 'no contact' deliveries. If you do have to shop in-store, follow the social distancing measures outlined by the government.

Personal assistants (PAs) may not be able to support the person you look after if they need to shield or self-isolate.. If this happens, you should contact them in the first instance for advice.

Leicester City Council are writing to  people in the City who have direct payments for Adult Social Care which will help you to plan what you can do if your PA becomes unwell  and what to do if you have symptoms of Coronavirus. If you do not receive this letter, please contact Adult Social Care on 0116 454 1004.

You can also find additional information and advice on personal assistants on our personal assistant information pages.

Guidance from central government has recently changed in relation to PPE for unpaid carers. As such we are now able to offer free PPE for needs relating to COVID-19 to unpaid carers, as long as they do not live with the person or people they care for. Currently this is available until the end of June 2021. If you would normally use PPE because of the nature of care that you provide, you should continue to access it through your normal routes and this new PPE offer does not apply to you.

The Leicester Carer Support Service will be providing free PPE to adult carers on behalf of the Council. They can be contacted on 0116 2220538 between the hours of 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday. Please note young carers can access free PPE regardless of whether they live with the person they care for or not.

If, as an adult carer you live with the person or people you care for, it is not currently recommended that you wear PPE unless advised to do so by a healthcare professional, like a GP or nurse. If neither you or the person/people you care for are symptomatic of coronavirus, then no PPE is required above and beyond the good hygiene practices detailed on the NHS website. The Stay at home guidance provides information on washing your hands, cleaning and disposing of waste, and cleaning laundry, as well as other information for those living with a vulnerable person.

Advice and practical tips from the Alzheimer’s Society can be found below:

You can also speak to a dementia specialist Admiral Nurse, go to the Dementia UK’s Helpline webpage.

Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust (LPT) has set up a dedicated phone line for people of all ages in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland to access urgent NHS mental health support 24 hours a day. The Central Access Point links callers with call handlers and clinicians who can assess their needs and advise, support, signpost or refer them directly to the appropriate service. You can access this service by calling 0116 2953060.

The government guidance on providing unpaid care to adults with learning disabilities and autistic adults contains advice on:

  • Protecting yourself and the person you care for
  • Supporting the person through change
  • Maintaining your own health and wellbeing.

You can get information from Mencap as well as helpful advice on how to manage difficult feelings.

See recent government advice on Guidance on the mental health and wellbeing aspects of coronavirus  which has additional information to support those with a learning disability, including Autism. 

The Monday Club is a local group that provides social inclusion support for people with Autism. They are currently providing an opportunity for people to stay in touch with each other virtually on Monday evenings, 7pm to 9pm. For more information about the Monday Club, as well as how to join their video calls, visit the Monday Club website.

Turning Point support people who are concerned about their drug or alcohol use. To speak to them via the phone call 330 303 6000.

Dear Albert can also support with substance misuse difficulties. You can contact the team on 0800 880 3153 or text 07712 707 999.