Advice for carers

What you need to do

Coronavirus (COVID‑19) is spreading fast. England is in lockdown. Do not leave your home unless necessary.

If you have to leave home:

  • wash your hands regularly – for 20 seconds with soap and water
  • cover your face – wear a face covering (if you can)
  • make space – stay at least two metres away from anyone you don’t live with

If you have any coronavirus symptoms, isolate immediately and get a test. 

Find out more on the GOV.UK website.

This coronavirus (COVID-19) advice is for unpaid carers who look after a family member, neighbour or friend who could not manage without their support.

The main symptoms of coronavirus are a:

  • new, continuous cough
  • high temperature
  • loss of, or change in your normal sense of taste or smell

The most important thing you can do to avoid catching it is to wash your hands thoroughly for 20 seconds and to do this regularly. Torbay Council has produced some really useful videos for carers about coronavirus:

If you think you might have symptoms

It is vital you book a test and follow government stay at home guidance:

If you can, move any vulnerable individuals (such as those over 70, with underlying health conditions, or a weakened immune system) out of your home, to stay with friends or family for the duration of the home isolation period.

If you cannot move vulnerable people out of your home, stay away from them as much as possible.

Social distancing

It is important to follow guidelines on social distancing to protect yourself and anyone you care for. The government website has lots of information about social distancing:

Extremely vulnerable people

If you look after someone who is extremely vulnerable on medical grounds please read the government advice on shielding them:

Advice for carers

The government has issued the following advice for carers to protect them and the person they care for:

  • wash your hands on arrival and often, using soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser
  • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
  • put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards
  • do not visit if you are unwell and make alternative arrangements for their care
  • provide information on who they should call if they feel unwell, how to use NHS 111 online coronavirus service and leave the number for NHS 111 prominently displayed
  • find out about different sources of support that could be used and access further advice on creating a contingency plan is available from Carers UK
  • look after your own well-being and physical health during this time.

If you become unwell

If it is normally you who provides personal care, and you become unable, contact Care Connect on 01275 888 801. Care Connect is open Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm. In an emergency outside these hours please call our emergency duty team on 01454 615 165.

Make a plan in advance

The best thing you can do now is plan for how you can adapt your daily routine, and that of others in your household, if one of you shows symptoms. This could include the following:

  • talk to your neighbours and family and exchange phone numbers of household contacts and
  • set up a network of support with them using an app like Rally Round on your smartphone or computer
  • consider and plan for those in your home who are considered vulnerable
  • create a contact list with phone numbers of neighbours, schools, employer, chemist, NHS 111
  • set up online shopping accounts if possible

Prescriptions and shopping

Ask family, friends and neighbours to support you and use online services. If this is not possible there are community hubs which can help. The council is working with these as part of our North Somerset Together network. More information can be found on our support page.

Prescriptions will continue to cover the same length of time as usual. If you do not currently have your prescriptions collected or delivered, you can arrange this by:

  • asking someone who can pick up your prescription from the local pharmacy, (this is the best option, if possible)
  • contacting your pharmacy to ask them to help you find a volunteer (who will have been ID checked) or deliver it to you

You may also need to arrange for collection or delivery of hospital specialist medication that is prescribed to you by your hospital care team.

If you receive support from health and social care organisations, for example, if you have care provided for you through the local authority or health care system, this will continue as normal. Your health or social care provider will be asked to take additional precautions to make sure that you are protected.

Other support

Most GP practices are mainly offering telephone consultations. If you need an appointment, your surgery will advise you how to book when you contact them.

Our carers support service delivered by Carers Support Alliance is working by telephone only (tel: 03000 120 120 – choose option 3).

More advice

North Somerset Healthwatch have produced the below simple guidance to answer frequently asked questions about the virus and how to stay safe and well:

There’s also more advice on the Carers UK website.