Coronavirus FAQs, help and advice for carers
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 specific carer guidance here for anyone who cares, unpaid, for 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 their support.
- 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?
The Government has issued specific carer guidance here for anyone who cares, unpaid, for 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 their support.
Government guidance for households with possible coronavirus infection is also on the Government’s website here.
Can I still go out to care for the person I’m caring for while we are in lockdown?
The NHS has written to everyone considered to be at risk of severe illness if you catch the coronavirus. You may have received the letter yourself, either as someone in this ‘high risk’ group or as the named carer of someone else who is.
If a person you care for has received this letter, the instructions are very clear. They must stay at home at all times and avoid all face-to-face contact for at least 12 weeks, except from you as their carer and healthcare workers continuing to provide essential medical care. You can find out more about the shielding advice here.
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 access Carers UK guidance and information on what you can do.
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 specific carer guidance here and information on Carers UK website.
If you are caring for someone who is extremely vulnerable due to severe illness, there are some simple steps that you can take to protect them and to reduce their risk at the current time. Ensure you follow advice on good hygiene:
- 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
- find out about different sources of support that could be used and accessing further advice on creating a contingency plan is available from Carers UK here.
- look after your own wellbeing and physical health during this time. Further information on this is available.
Please note: This Government guidance comes from their website here so please check it regularly for the latest updates.
Self isolation and staying at home
I have received an email/text to say I have to stay inside for 3 months but have no information about how to access support?
Those people who have been identified as “extremely vulnerable” are being contacted directly by their GPs and can have food parcels delivered directly to their doors through the Sussex Resilience Forum. The Government has arranged for Community Hubs to be 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. You can contact our team on 01323 738390 or email@example.com for support with registering with your local Community Hub, or register directly with them (see FAQ below).
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.
The hubs are in addition to direct help which has already been arranged for people with urgent medical conditions who are being asked to shield themselves at home for 12 weeks. These people are being contacted directly by their GPs and can have food parcels delivered directly to their doors through the Sussex Resilience Forum which brings together emergency services, health services, local authorities and other partners across East Sussex, West Sussex and Brighton and Hove.
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.
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 now 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.
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.
As a Carer with high risk health conditions and who receives Carers Allowance, I have been told to isolate for 12 weeks. Will I still get paid my Carers allowance if I 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.
Will I still get paid Carers Allowance over the next 3 weeks, as we are in Lockdown and I don’t live with the person I care for?
See above question and answer.
East Sussex Services
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.
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, but I need to travel without having to explain why I am outdoors to fulfil my caring role during lockdown. Can you help?
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 to anyone who may stop you. To request a Carers Card, visit our web page or call us on 01323 738390.
I was having counselling sessions with Care for the Carers but they have been suspended – what happens now?
We suspended our adult counselling sessions temporarily whilst we work on getting arrangements in place to offer telephone counselling during coronavirus. In the interim, you will be offered a weekly wellbeing phone session so you have the chance to speak to somebody for a general chat. We hope to start offering telephone counselling to our current counselling clients soon.
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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