Much of this guidance will already be familiar as the Government, local authorities and the NHS have been publishing general advice regularly over the past month. However, please do take the time to have a look at it as there is important information there for you. Below are some key highlights or you can find out the full guidance here – Government Guidance for those who provide unpaid care to someone.
KEY HIGHLIGHTS: GUIDANCE FOR UNPAID CARERS
Vulnerable and extremely vulnerable groups
The NHS have identified two groups of people who have an increased risk (vulnerable) or even higher increased risk (extremely vulnerable) to Coronaviorus. Full details of those included can be found in the following links.
Who is 'vulnerable'?
Who is 'extremely vulnerable'?
Social Distancing Rules for carers providing care to vulnerable and extremely vulnerable groups.
In addition to following the guidance on social distancing for everyone in the UK there are extra precautions you can take to help keep the person you care for safe.
If you care for someone who is vulnerable or extremely vulnerable , please follow these simple steps to protect them and reduce the risk.
• Only provide essential care
• Wash your hands when you arrive at the home of the person you care for and continue regularly throughout your visit
• Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve when you cough or sneeze
• Put tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands
• Do not visit if you are unwell and make alternative arrangements for their care
• Ensure they know who to call if they feel unwell, how to use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service and leave the number for NHS 111 prominently displayed
• Find out about different sources of support and create a contingency plan (see below for further details)
• Look after your own mental health and well being
What should I expect from Care providers providing care to vulnerable and extremely vulnerable
Guidance has been issued on Home Care provision for anyone delivering care to reduce the risk of infection. If you have any concerns, speak to the care provider about their processes for maintaining good hygiene.
What to do it the person you care for is unwell
If someone in your household has symptoms you should follow the Stay at home guidance in addition to the with following guidance.
- If the person I care for is unwell and I am not vulnerable or extremely vulnerable
You can continue to provide care. You should review the above guidelines to take measures to protect yourself and others in the household as best you can by following advice on hygiene and distancing where possible.
- If the person I care for is unwell and I am vulnerable
Where possible ask friends and family who can support you in providing care. You should distance yourself from the person you care for as much as possible and follow the guidance on social distancing for people who are at increased risk.
- If the person I care for is unwell and I am extremely vulnerable
As per the guidance for clinically extremely vulnerable groups, you should strictly avoid contact with someone who is displaying symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19). Where possible, ask friends and family who can support you in providing care for their help. You should distance yourself from the person you care for as much as possible and follow the above guidance. If you cannot organise alternative care you can contact your local authority (for many carers we support, this will be Hertfordshire County Council who can be reached on 0300 123 4042) or health care provider. If you do not know how to do this, you can contact NHS 111 or call Carers in Hertfordshire on 01992 58 69 69.
What to do if you are unwell
If someone in your household has symptoms you should follow the Stay at home guidance.
If you care for a person who is vulnerable or extremely vulnerable do not visit if you are unwell and make alternative arrangements immediately for their care with family members and friends. You should distance yourself from the person you care for as much as possible especially if they are extremely vulnerable.
If you cannot organise alternative care you can contact your local authority (for many carers we support, this will be Hertfordshire County Council who can be reached on 0300 123 4042) or NHS trust, If you do not know how to do this, you can contact NHS 111 or call Carers in Hertfordshire on 01992 58 69 69.
It is advised that all carers should create an emergency plan with the person they care for, to use in circumstances where help from other people such as family, friends or other care providers, may be needed.
This should include the following about the person you care for:
- Name and address and any other contact details
- Who they would like to be contacted in an emergency
- Their medication details
- Any ongoing treatment they need
- Any medical appointed they need to keep
This plan should be available to be shared easily with others in an emergency.
Further information can be found here or please contact Carers in Hertfordshire us on 01992 58 69 69 to discuss contingency planning.
Pharmacies and prescriptions
If you are self-isolating and unable to collect prescriptions for the person you care for, we recommend contacting your pharmacy to see if a home delivery service is available. Pharmacy delivery services will be under pressure, so it is important that you order your repeat prescriptions in good time.
It is not recommended to use face masks to prevent the spread of infection unless advised by a healthcare professional.