Carers provide essential support to people around the country, but the current COVID-19 outbreak means that many carers are unable to visit their clients and deliver the vital services they need.
What does this mean for those who rely on carers for daily care? And how are carers managing to continue supplying services? We find out.
As the NHS sends letters to those most vulnerable and in high-risk groups in relation to the coronavirus, you – or if you’re a carer, one of your clients – may have received a letter asking you to stay inside and self-isolate for at least 12 weeks, avoiding all face-to-face contact.
This is a huge ask, and it can be scary to think about the lack of contact with the outside world for the next 12 weeks. But, it can be even more scary if you rely on a loved one or professional carer to assist with daily life.
If you have received a letter, it’s important to note that carers are exempt from the no face-to-face contact rule, meaning they and other healthcare workers can continue to provide you with the care you need, as long as they are fit, able and don’t show any symptoms of COVID-19.
If you or your carer thinks that you should have received a letter, but you haven’t, you can register yourself here for additional support throughout the outbreak.
If you’re a carer, you might be worried about how your client will be affected if you’re unable to carry out your duties. However, if you begin to show symptoms of coronavirus, you must immediately suspend all face-to-face contact with not just your clients – who could be particularly vulnerable to the virus – but everyone.
The government has put systems into place meaning that those who would otherwise be without care are still able to access it, meaning they won’t be left without the essential care they need.
If you wish to keep in touch with your client whilst in self-isolation, you should arrange to do this via phone, text or video chat, as it’s important to maintain social contact for both clients and carers during this time.
If you’re still able to visit your clients, you should wash your hands for 20 seconds upon entering each new house, wash them regularly throughout your visit, and always stay two metres away from your client, where possible.
If you act as an unpaid carer and live with the person you care for, you should start to put in place plans for what happens if you do begin to show symptoms. Planning is essential to ensure a smooth transition should someone else need to take over caring responsibilities.
It can be worrying if your carer has to stop their services because they’re worried they might have Coronavirus. But, don’t panic because there’s help in place to ensure you don’t go without the support you need.
As a precautionary measure, write a list of all the people who can provide you with help if your carer becomes ill. These could be relatives, friends, or professional carers you know or have worked with before. Hopefully you won’t need to use this, but it will ensure you’re not without the care you need.
If your care worker is continuing to visit you, you should contact your care provider and find out what protective measures they have in place to ensure minimal risk to all clients. This can help put your mind at ease.
According to the NHS, if you have care workers coming in and out of your home to provide support or social care, this help must continue. If your regular carer is unable to visit you at this time, your care provider should make alternative arrangements to ensure you don’t go without the help you need.
If you’re a carer or client and you’d like more information about your rights, or just some advice, Carers UK has developed a webpage full of essential information related to the Coronavirus. You can access it here.