We want to reassure you that we are still there to provide information and support to unpaid carers during the coronavirus pandemic. The safety of carers, the people they look after, and our staff, volunteers and partners, is our top priority and we are delivering our services in line with guidance.
Our offices remain 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-4pm on Fridays.
Most of our Hubs are meeting online via Zoom whilst they cannot meet in person in community venues. Our Carer Forums and learning opportunities are also being provided online and bereavement support and mentoring over the phone. We will continue to offer young carers activities online and support them and their families in the most appropriate way.
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.
How do I protect someone I care for?
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, particularly if contacted by the NHS Test and Trace Service. 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 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. Restrictions for people who were shielding were lifted on 1st August 2020, but re-introduced in the third national lockdown on Tuesday 5th January 2021. You can find out more via this link - Government advice regarding shielding.
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.
In February 2021, the Government issued guidance to recommend that people in England providing care to someone they don't live with wear PPE when carrying out that care, this includes unpaid carers. We can provide free PPE such as disposable gloves, aprons and face masks to unpaid carers in Hertfordshire or from elsewhere and caring for someone in the county. Please contact us, what you need will depend on the care you provide and whether you are in close contact with the person or can keep more than 2 metres from them. You can find out more about the guidance on the Government website.
We have also worked with Hertfordshire County Council to get some answers to some common questions unpaid carers' have been asking about, including day services, arrangements to visit or contact relatives in care homes, finances, and more. The information was reviewed in November 2020 for the second lockdown and you can find out more here - Carers' questions about coronavirus and care provision and more answered and for more general information about Council services during this period of restrictions visit the Coronavirus service updates page.
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:
West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust:
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
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 9th November 2020)
COVID-19 Risk Assessment - Outdoor Meetings (updated 12th April 2021)
Hertford Office Risk Assessment (updated 9th February 2021)
Borehamwood Office Risk Assessment (updated 4th February 2021)
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.
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.
In February 2021, some unpaid carers aged 16+ were invited to have their vaccine (those in 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 and has produced a document covering questions unpaid carers may have about the vaccination and answers to these - this is on the Council's website or you access it here - COVID-19 vaccine for unpaid carers - questions and answers.
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.