Update: 18 May 2020
New advice for shielded residents from Leeds city council: www.leeds.gov.uk/coronavirus/advice-for-shielded-residents
Update: 05 May 2020
The government has now prioritised unpaid carers in England for testing for COVID-19. Find out more including information on how to arrange a test, here: www.gov.uk/apply-coronavirus-test-essential-workers
Update: 08 April 2020
New government guidance for carers: www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-providing-unpaid-care/guidance-for-those-who-provide-unpaid-care-to-friends-or-family
Update: 30 March 2020
For the latest information about coronavirus (covid-19) and how it affects carers, please visit the dedicated page on the Carers UK website at: carersuk.org/help-and-advice/health/looking-after-your-health/coronavirus-covid-19
The West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health & Care Partnership unpaid carers programme has developed this Coronavirus Plan B document which can help you to plan for who could help you in an emergency if you look after someone who couldn’t manage without your support.
Update: 17 March 2020
Carers Leeds is committed to adhering to the strictest advice and protocols advised by the NHS. The wellbeing of carers, visitors, volunteers and our staff is our absolute priority, and you can be assured that this issue has our complete attention.
All support groups, events, drop-ins, meetings and other face to face activities are now cancelled until further notice.
The Carers Leeds advice line – 0113 380 4300 is open Mon -Fri 9am-5pm. You can e-mail the advice line – firstname.lastname@example.org for support during these times.
Get in touch for support – these are difficult times, but you don’t have to go through this alone.
You can read the joint statement from Carers Trust and Carers UK here.
From 13 March 2020
Here are some helpful tips from Carers UK.
If you are worried that you or someone you look after may be at risk, NHS 111 can offer direct guidance as they have set up an online coronavirus helpline. You can also call 111, letting them know that you are a carer.
Even if you are not showing symptoms, it’s important to use this service if you’ve been in close contact to someone with the virus or if you’ve been to one or more of the places listed on the NHS website in the last 14 days.
If you feel that you may have to forego your care duties, look to put a contingency plan in place and seek cover from trusted neighbours, friends or family members.
Read our advice on creating a contingency plan. Here, we explain how many different sources of support can be used to bolster your plan. For example, you can: ensure key information is made readily available for professionals; draw on networks of community and family support; and explore what technology can be used to support anyone you look after when you can’t be in the same place at the same time.
In this section, we also explain how getting a carer’s assessment could be the first step to gaining additional vital support if you need it. It’s your chance to discuss any help you need as a carer. And if you’ve already been assessed, it is always worth double checking that you are receiving everything you’re entitled to.
You could also check with the local authority of those you care for to see whether they have an Emergency Plan in place. You can find the Leeds contact details here: www.leeds.gov.uk/residents/health-and-social-care/adult-social-care/caring-for-family-and-friends/plan-for-a-care-emergency.
Do I need to stay away from others?
You only need to stay away from public places (self-isolate) if advised to by the 111 online coronavirus service or a medical professional. The NHS website has specific guidance on what action you should take and when, if necessary. Read their guidance.
How do I protect someone I care for?
In the first instance, it is advisable to protect yourself and others by simply following the hygiene guidelines illustrated on the BBC’s video and included under How to avoid catching or spreading coronavirus on the NHS website.
If you live with those you care for
If you think you’ve been in close contact with someone with confirmed coronavirus, call 111 for advice (or see relevant contact details above) as soon as possible. If you were planning to go away to one of the countries listed on the NHS website, follow their advice for travellers.
If you do not live with those you care for
Call 111 (or relevant number given above) for advice if you suspect you are at risk and if necessary, take measures to arrange alternative face-to-face care for the person you care for, calling on trusted neighbours, friends or family members.
If you have paid care workers coming into the home to look after someone:
- ensure that they are following stringent hygiene measures as set out by the NHS. Ask if the agency has a policy available if in doubt.
- talk to the person you look after to ensure they’re content with the hygiene standards of the care worker providing care for them.