Please be aware that all our face to face events and carers' groups are cancelled at present. Online events are running. You can still call us on 01992 58 69 69 (9am - 5.30pm Mon - Thurs & 9am - 4.30pm Fri).
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Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance for carers

Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) all the face to face events we are hosting are currently cancelled.  We will keep you updated as things change. Your safety is our priority and in response to COVID-19 we have the following information to share.

How do I protect someone I care for?

Be Prepared

Consider what might happen if you were unable to provide the care you normally provide. This may be in the situation of having to self-isolate where you or someone in your home is unwell or if the person you support has coronavirus symptoms. It is helpful if you can put a contingency plan in place and seek cover from trusted neighbours, friends or family members. You could also think about options for having shopping delivered.

Stay at home if you have coronavirus symptoms 

The symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are:

  • A high temperature (37.8 degrees C or higher); 
  • A new, continuous cough; or
  • Loss or change of taste or smell (known anosmia).

For current guidance about treatment, self-isolation or if you or anyone you live with has symptoms visit the NHS website via this link - NHS COVID-19 guidance.

You may have to self-isolate at home if contacted by the NHS Test and Trace Service, as they advise. To learn more about Test and Trace click on the link - more details about Test and Trace.

Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital if you have symptoms. For advice about what to do please turn to NHS 111 online. Only call NHS 111 if you are worried about a baby or child, if you don't have internet access, or you cannot get help online.

You do not need to contact NHS 111 to tell them you're staying at home. If you are self-isolating at home due to you or someone in the household having symptoms or a coronavirus diagnosis you can get information about what to do here - advice about staying at home.

Guidance about shielding

The Government has issued separate guidance for people who had to be shielded as they are classed as being vulnerable to coronavirus due to a health condition or weakened immune system, and their relatives, carers, or anyone who lives with them or supports them. You can find out more via this link - Government advice regarding shielding.

People who are shielding, such as those who are receiving treatment for cancer or people with respiratory conditions such as cystic fibrosis and severe asthma, should have received a letter from the NHS to advise them they should be shielded. People who have been identified as being high risk and requiring shielding should register for support at www.gov.uk/coronavirus-extremely-vulnerable and can get assistance by calling 0800 028 8327.

If you feel you or someone you care for should be classed as at clinical high risk and have not received a letter or message about being shielded, please contact your (their) GP or hospital clinician to discuss.

People aged 70 + or with other health conditions such as heart disease may also want to follow shielding guidance.

If someone is in Hertfordshire and shielding themselves, and doesn’t have anyone to get food or medicine, they can contact HertsHelp on 0300 123 4044 for support.

People who provide essential support to a shielded person such as healthcare professionals, paid carers or family carers, should still visit (if they do not have COVID-19 symptoms).

Guidance for unpaid carers

We know that the work carried out by unpaid family carers keeps the health and social care system going. Recognising that, the Government has published specific guidance to help you to keep safe and well while continuing with your caring role. It covers advice regarding emergency plans and what to do about your caring role if you, anyone you live with, or the person you care for, has coronavirus symptoms or is in a clinically vulnerable group. 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. You can find out the guidance here – Government Guidance for those who provide unpaid care to someone.

We have also worked with Hertfordshire County Council to get some answers to some common questions unpaid carers' have been asking about care provision, Direct Payments, finances, and more. You can find out more here - Carers' questions about coronavirus and care provision and more answered.

Guidance for hospital visits

For up to date information on visiting people in hospitals run by the East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust and West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust, please follow the links below to the appropriate pages. **Both Trusts regularly review their visiting guidance in line with NHS England visitor guidance.**

East & North Hertfordshire NHS Trust: 
https://www.enherts-tr.nhs.uk/patient-visitors/visiting-hospital/
https://www.enherts-tr.nhs.uk/patient-visitors/coming-into-hospital/carers-support-team/

West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust:
https://www.westhertshospitals.nhs.uk/covid/informationforrelativesandcarers.asp

Keeping in touch with you

We know that caring can be very isolating and staying at home as per guidance could make this worse so we have been making and continue to make proactive calls to carers to check on their wellbeing. If you know anyone who would benefit from this support please get in touch with us by calling 01992 58 69 69 or email

We are not able to provide medical advice if you are worried that you or someone you look after may be at risk, the NHS 111 service can offer direct guidance. Please use the online coronavirus helpline in the first instance.

There is also health information and advice on the NHS website and travel advice on the Government website.

If you are concerned about your general health or have a symptom (not COVID-19 related) that needs checking out, please contact your GP practice or dentist. Many surgeries have made arrangements for telephone and video appointments and when it’s necessary face to face appointments can still be carried out in a way that is safe for everyone.

Keeping calm and well

Social distancing and self-isolation due to the coronavirus doesn't have to mean social isolation or boredom. We have prepared some fun, responsible ways for unpaid carers to do to stay occupied during this public health crisis. You can find out more on our Activity ideas during self-isolation page.