Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance for carers

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic we have provided information and support to unpaid carers and we continue to be here for you. The safety of carers, the people they look after, and our staff, volunteers and partners, is our top priority and we review the guidance related to COVID-19 regularly.

Our offices are open and Carer Support Advisors are available to help unpaid carers in relation to their caring role 9.30am – 5pm Monday to Thursday and 9am-4.30pm on Fridays.

Most of our Hubs are meeting in community venues again, but there are also some meetings taking place online via Zoom. There is also a mix of in person and online carer involvement meetings, workshops and learning opportunities.  

Our Care Service continues to provide home care and Carers’ Breaks and our Admiral Nurses will provide support face to face or over the phone, as appropriate.

You can contact us by emailing or call 01992 58 69 69.

In April 2022, the arrangements for testing and managing COVID-19 changed, in line with the UK government’s Living with COVID plan. Guidance differs depending where you live in the UK, so you should visit the following websites for further information - www.gov.uk/coronavirus and www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

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 stay at home and avoid contact with others if you or the person you support has coronavirus or COVID-19 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.

Coronavirus symptoms and what to do if you or the person you care for has symptoms or tests positive for COVID-19

There are many symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) and some are similar to those for other illnesses such as colds or flu. The main symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are:

  • A high temperature (the chest or back is hot to the touch); 
  • A new, continuous cough (coughing for more than an hour or three or more continuous coughing episodes in 24 hours); or
  • Loss or change of taste or smell (known anosmia).

As of 1st April 2022, guidance for people with symptoms of a respiratory infection including COVID-19, or who have tested positive for COVID-19, is to try to stay at home and avoid contact with others until you no longer feel unwell or don’t have a high temperature (if you had one). Advice is for adults to try and stay at home and avoid contact with others for five days after getting symptoms or a positive result and for children it is three days.

If you or the person with symptoms or COVID-19 does leave the house, then advice is to wear a face mask if possible to help reduce the spread of infection and to avoid crowded or enclosed spaces such as public transport.

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

Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital if you have symptoms. If you are worried about symptoms or for non-urgent medical help please turn to NHS 111 online or call NHS 111.

If you or someone you care for has COVID-19 symptoms or has tested positive for COVID-19 you can get information about what to do here - advice about staying at home - or you can call 119 (free from mobiles and landlines) if you have questions or need help with coronavirus vaccinations, testing and more. The lines are open 7am to 11pm every day. 

Testing

Free testing for coronavirus has ended for most people in England. If you want to get tested and you are not eligible for a free NHS test, you must pay for a COVID-19 test yourself. You can buy lateral flow tests from some pharmacies and retailers in person or online, prices vary but are in the region of £2 for one test.

People eligible for free NHS tests include those:
• Going into hospital for surgery or a procedure – the hospital will give you guidance on this.
• With a health condition that means they are eligible for COVID-19 treatments. Conditions such as Down’s Syndrome, certain types of cancer and conditions affecting the brain e.g. multiple sclerosis or motor neurone disease – a list is available at www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/self-care-and-treatments-for-coronavirus/treatments-for-coronavirus/
• Who work in care homes, domiciliary care, supported living services, adult day care centres and certain NHS and social care roles (mainly those working directly with patients or vulnerable clients).

Guidance about shielding

The shielding programme in England ended in September 2021. You can find out about guidance for people considered clinically extremely vulnerable from COVID-19 via this link - Government advice regarding shielding.

Guidance for unpaid carers

The government withdrew guidance specific to unpaid carers in April 2022, as part of its Living with COVID Plan. However, carers can follow the general advice at You can find out more about the guidance on the Government website.

Throughout the pandemic we have worked with Hertfordshire County Council and NHS organisations to keep carers updated about advice and get answer to their questions. For more information about Council services and coronavirus guidance visit the Coronavirus service updates page.

If you want to find out about the advice in place for people working in social care, such as care homes or providing home care, there is information on the government website – Infection prevention and control COVID-19 guidance

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/

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 could make this worse so we have made 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

Working safely during COVID-19

We have published these risk assessments here so you can read about how we are working to keep you safe. We will update this page with additional risk assessments and if there are any changes to share.

If you have questions or concerns about any of this, we encourage you to contact us to talk about them. Details above or on our contact page.

COVID-19 Risk Assessment - Indoor Meetings (updated April 2022)

Hertford Office Risk Assessment (updated April 2022)

Borehamwood Office Risk Assessment (updated April 2022)

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 NHS 111 Coronavirus resource 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 staying at home 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. You can find out more on our Activity ideas during self-isolation page.

COVID-19 Vaccination

Unpaid carers aged 16+ were invited to have their vaccine as part of priority group 6. You can find out more about the vaccination programme and who is included in each priority group on the NHS website. Hertfordshire County Council also has information about the vaccine and vaccination programme in Hertfordshire on its website at www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/vaccine 

There is also information about the vaccination programme in Hertfordshire, including pop up and walk-in vaccination provision, at https://covid.healthierfuture.org.uk/

On 16th December 2020, Jim McManus, Director Public Health at Hertfordshire County Council, joined an online meeting with family carers that we hosted to talk about the COVID-19 vaccination and the plans to roll it out across Hertfordshire. Jim was accompanied by his colleagues Tom Hennessey and Anna Makepeace. Click below to watch.

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