Coronavirus FAQs, help and advice for carers

by | Apr 16, 2020 | Carer News

Updated on 6th January 2021.

Looking after the person you care for during coronavirus

We have put together these questions and answers to help you as a carer. If you need help and support, please get in touch with us. Find out latest coronavirus information here.

What can I do if I care for someone but I don’t live with them?

There are various options depending on your circumstances.

  • The Government has issued lockdown guidance here, and there is specific guidance for carers here
  • You may be able to arrange replacement care provision through a homecare provider. You can find local approved care providers on the council’s website here.
  • If you are concerned that coronavirus means that the person you care for is not having their essential care and support needs met, you should contact East Sussex Adult Social Care. You can call them on 0345 60 80 191 (open 8am to 8pm 7 days a week including Bank Holidays), or email them through their website here.
  • Care for the Carers is here to help you to navigate health and social care systems, so do get in touch if you need support
What if the person I care for does not have symptoms but is part of our self-isolating household?

Government guidance for households with possible coronavirus infection is on the Government’s website here. You can also read specific Government carer guidance here

Can I still go out to care for the person I’m caring for?

As before, the NHS will be writing to everyone considered to be at risk of severe illness if you catch the coronavirus. You may receive the letter yourself, either as someone in this ‘high risk’ group or as the named carer of someone else who is. The Government has specific information for carers looking after someone here. You can find out about leaving home to care for someone here. Carers UK has further guidance for carers here.

The clinically extremely vulnerable should follow resumed shielding guidance and should not attend work, school, college or university. They should limit the time they spend outside the home and only go out for medical appointments, exercise or if it is essential. Read the latest shielding advice here or you can call Health and Social Care Direct for help with care and support, or urgent help as a carer. Phone: 0345 60 80 191, 8am to 8pm 7 days a week including Bank Holidays. Outside of its normal office hours, the Emergency Duty Service (on the same number) will respond to serious Adult Social Care issues that cannot wait until the next day

If you or anyone you live with or care for starts to display any of the symptoms of coronavirus, you can read the Government guidelines on what to do here.

What if the person I care for is extremely vunerable?

If you or anyone you live with starts to display any of the symptoms of coronavirus, you must suspend your face-to-face visits. You can read the Government’s stay at home guidance here and Government specific carer information on their website here

If you are caring for someone who is extremely vulnerable, wherever possible, we are all advised to strictly follow the social distancing rules. However, it may be necessary for you to be in close contact with someone who relies on you for care. Ensure you continue taking careful measures such as wearing a face covering, frequently washing your hands and cleaning all shared surfaces, whilst minimising any contact where possible.

Advice for the clinically extremely vulnerable is to resume shieldng and stay at home at all times, unless for exercise, medical appointments or if it is essential to go out. They should not attend work, school, college or university.  Further information is here.

You should continue to check the Government guidance on their website here so please check it regularly for the latest updates.

What if I am a young carer or young adult carer looking after someone?

The Government has published their latest national lockdown guidance and information and guidance and information for people under the age of 25 who are providing care for someone during the coronavirus outbreak.

East Sussex Young Carers supports Young Carers aged 5-18 who care for a family member with long-term illness, disability, mental health or substance misuse issues. Alternatively, please get in touch with us on 01323 738390, email us on, or text us on 07860 077300.

Self isolation and staying at home

I am or the person I care for is extremely vunerable. How do I access support?

Those people who have been identified as “extremely vulnerable” were contacted directly by their GPs earlier this year and will be contacted again soon. Community Hubs have been set up locally to support people who do not have an extreme medical condition but may be vulnerable because they are isolated from help, too unwell to buy food or have other pressing difficulties because of coronavirus. The contact details for your local community hub in your area are here.

The government has updated its guidance for people who are clinically extremely vunerable from coronavirus. This guidance has been updated to support the  extremely vulnerable in protecting themselves from exposure to coronavirus and is available on the Governent’s website here.

I don't have anyone to help me and I'm finding it hard to cope. How can I get help during this time?

Local community hubs have opened across East Sussex to bring extra help for people who need support in coping with the effects of coronavirus. The hubs include online forms and phone lines which anyone can contact to seek help if they are isolated, anxious or unwell at home and do not have family or friends they can call on.

Volunteers and staff from local councils and the health service will then ensure they try to get the right assistance to the people who need it most, including arranging food deliveries, medical supplies or mental health support.

The community hubs will focus their help on people who do not have an extreme medical condition but may be vulnerable because they are isolated from help, too unwell to buy food or need extra support because of coronavirus. The hubs will also bring together volunteers, donations and projects to co-ordinate East Sussex’s community response to the virus.

There are five hubs – one in each part of the county. They are usually open during working hours, 9am to 5pm, although this will vary slightly from hub to hub. Each one can be reached online or by phone. Please see the Council’s community support website page for further information.


Website: Lewes and Eastbourne Councils
Phone: 01323 679722 (option 1)


Website: Hastings Borough Council
Phone: 01424 451019


Website: Lewes and Eastbourne Councils
Phone: 01273 099956 (option 1)


Website: Rother District Council
Phone: 01424 787000 (option 4)


Website: Wealden District Council
Phone: 01323 443322

There is more information about these local Community Hubs on the community hubs web page.

I am not in the “extremely vulnerable” category but am trying not to go out as I am over 70 or live with someone who is and don’t want to put myself or them at risk. How can I get my essential supplies?

Many shops and businesses are offering delivery, and thousands of “mutual aid” groups have sprung up with lots of people offering to help out in their local communities.  As these volunteers haven’t been subject to the usual checks, we are encouraging carers to exercise caution, e.g. by not paying for goods prior to delivery for informal arrangements. Where possible, we recommend ordering from reputable companies, requesting pharmacy deliveries, and using existing befriending and good neighbour schemes where available.  Our team may be able to direct you to delivery services and mutual aid groups if you have not been able to find any independently.

If you are on your own or need extra support, local community hubs across East Sussex have been set up to provide essentials, food and medication. See above question and answer. You can find out the contacts for the local community hubs here

If I don't have access to the internet, how can I access coronavirus aid support. Can Care for the Carers help me to get the support I need?

Our team of support workers is getting regular updates from the Community Hubs and local services and will do their best to get you the help you need.  Contact us on 01323 738390.  Outside of its normal office hours, the Emergency Duty Service (on the same number) will respond to serious Adult Social Care issues that cannot wait until the next day.

Carers Allowance

As a Carer who receives Carers Allowance, will I still get paid my Carers allowance if I self isolate?
You must report any change in your circumstances if you’re claiming or have applied for Carer’s Allowance. This includes both temporarily stopping providing care for someone or stopping being a carer altogether.

You can still get Carer’s Allowance if you temporarily stop providing care for someone. This means any period when you spend less than 35 hours a week caring for the other person. For example, you could get Carer’s Allowance for up to:

  • 12 weeks if either of you go into respite care or hospital
  • 4 weeks if either of you go on holiday.

As of 30th March 2020, new regulations allow unpaid carers to continue to claim Carer’s Allowance if you have a temporary break in caring, because you or the person you care for gets coronavirus or if you have to isolate because of it. Providing emotional support counts towards the Carer’s Allowance threshold of 35 hours of care a week.

East Sussex information

What carer services are still operating in East Sussex?
Care for the Carers is still running its services, with services normally delivered face-to-face being replaced by phone or online contact.  Other carer services providers have also adapted their services where possible, to deliver support by phone or online.  Contact our team to discuss what you need and we will do our best to help you get the right support.
What are the latest restrictions and guidance for East Sussex?

New Covid restrictions which affect all of us in East Sussex have been announced by the Government. Find out the latest information here.  

You can read the latest Government guidance for those who provide unpaid care to friends or family here.

 Carers Card emergency plan

Can carers sign up for the emergency plan element of the Carers Card (Carers Respite Emergency Support Service – CRESS) over the phone?
Yes, we have changed the process for carers during the coronavirus so that our team can complete the form with you over the phone and with your verbal consent, rather than you having to send us a form via post.  More information on the East Sussex Carers Card is on our website here.
I am taking all safety precautions. If I need to travel to fulfil my caring role but I am stopped, what can I do?

You can travel to look after a friend or family member who, due to a lifelong condition, illness, disability, serious injury, a mental health condition or an addiction, cannot cope without your support. If you are an unpaid carer who is living or caring in East Sussex, we can send you a Carers Card if you don’t have one already so that you can show this as and when required to do so. To request a Carers Card, visit our web page or call us on 01323 738390.

You can read the specific Government guidance for those who provide unpaid care to friends or family here


I’m on the waiting list for counselling - when will I be able to get counselling?
Owing to very high demand for our service, the usual waiting time for counselling is 3-6 months, but we will do everything we can to ensure you are offered counselling as soon as possible.
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