Information for carers
Information about looking after a family member, friend or neighbour who would not cope without your support during the coronavirus pandemic. Please note if adult social care are already helping you to arrange care for the person you look after, please do not cancel that package of care.
Frequently asked questions
Protect yourself and others by following the hygiene and infection control guidelines on the NHS website. It details what action you should take and when.
If you are worried that you or someone you look after has coronavirus, NHS 111 provides direct guidance through the online coronavirus helpline. Let them know you are a carer.
In Leicester, Age UK have a coronavirus helpline which provides useful local information. The telephone number for this service is . Further information can be found on the Age UK website.
If you look after an older person, there is lots of local information about support available on the Leicester Ageing Together website.
The Government’s guidance on the mental health and wellbeing aspects of coronavirus provides practical advice on what you can do to look after your mental wellbeing during the coronavirus outbreak.
The Leicester Carer Support Service is also providing Mindfulness for Beginners sessions to anyone looking after someone over the age of 18 in Leicester City. For further information about these sessions, you email the staff directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
The Carers Centre LLR is also offering support to family carers. You can contact them on 0116 2510999 or find out more about the services they have on offer by visiting the Carers Centre website.
The government’s guidance for those under 25 who provide care for someone talks about what you need to know to help stop coronavirus spreading whilst caring for others. It also gives lots of tips for looking after your own health and wellbeing.
If you need any support or have any questions about the things that you read, you can contact the CareFree Young Carers Service who are committed to supporting Young Carers and their families. If you are a young carer and you want to speak to the team, you can call them on 0116 2867182 or visit the Barnardos CareFree website.
The Government and NHS has issued guidance about who is at increased risk from coronavirus.
The Government guidance introduces ‘shielding’. This means reducing physical contact between vulnerable people and others to minimise their risk of getting coronavirus.
Many residential care homes have taken steps to restrict or prevent visits to minimise the risk of transmission. Whilst you may find it upsetting not to be able to visit your loved one, it is vital for infection control. In exceptional circumstances, such as those receiving palliative care, limited contact may be allowed, and you will be advised accordingly by the care provider regarding how to protect yourself and your loved one.
Where video and phone calls or ‘window visits’ are not feasible for care homes or beneficial to residents, we have advised that care homes may put together their own policies for indoor visits. These are subject to various restrictions to keep residents, staff, and the community safe.
If you are unable to visit someone you usually care for, consider how technology might help you keep in touch and connect with them. Perhaps explore Facetime or Skype as a way to talk face to face, though at a distance.
Jointly is an innovative mobile and online app (web, iOS, Android) developed by Carers UK that is designed by carers for carers. It is designed to make caring easier, less stressful and more organised by making communication and coordination between those who share the care as easy as a text message.
There is also technology that can help with particular tasks, in case you can't be around, such as managing taking medication. Read more about different types of remote technology that are available to help on the Carers UK website.
Care homes, supported living and home care providers are familiar with the Government guidance detailing how they can maintain delivery of care and reduce the transmission of coronavirus. If you wish to read this, it can be found below:
The government's Stay at home guidance for households with possible coronavirus infection states that if you live with others and you are the first in the household to have symptoms of coronavirus, then you must stay at home for 10 days, but all other household members who remain well must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill.
Those living with vulnerable individuals (such as the elderly and those with underlying health conditions) are advised where possible to move them out of the home to stay with friends or family for the duration of the home isolation period. If you cannot do this, there is information on how to minimise contact with vulnerable individuals in the government guidance.
If you are an unpaid carer who has to self-isolate due to yourself or a household member having coronavirus symptoms, you can access testing to confirm whether or not it is coronavirus.
If someone that you care for requires support and you are unable to provide your usual support go to GOV.UK to register and identify the support required. This includes help with getting food, shopping deliveries, collecting medications and any additional care needed. Visit the Support for residents webpage for more information. Support may include shopping, or simply a friendly chat. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0116 4542300.
Make sure that you have an up-to-date contingency or back up plan in place in case you’re unable to carry on looking after your loved one because you fall ill and, if you can, make cover arrangements with trusted neighbours, friends or family members. If you haven't yet made a plan see Carer's UK Advice on creating a contingency plan but you can also contact the Leicester Carer Support Service on 0116 222 0538 who will be able to help you.
Make sure your GP / medical professionals know that you are a carer. Ask for this to be added to your GP's 'Carer Register'. For information on how to do this, please see Carer First's guidance on their Let your GP know webpage or ask the Leicester Carer Support Service on 0116 2220538.
Preparing for hospital
It is useful to prepare a single hospital bag for the person you look after. This should include:
- Their emergency contacts
- A list of the types of medication they take (including dose and frequency)
- Any details of planned care appointments
- Things you would need for an overnight stay (for example, snacks, pyjamas, toothbrush, medication).
- If they have an advanced care plan, please include that. You could also prepare one for yourself if you feel that you are at higher risk from coronavirus.
If you look after someone with a learning disability or Autism, NHS England have published which gives doctors and nurses the information they will need if the person you look after goes into hospital because of coronavirus.
Locally, there is also a ‘Message in a Bottle’ scheme which encourages everyone to keep their personal and medical details on a standard form in a bottle in the fridge in case the emergency services need that information. The Leicester Carer Support Service can provide you with more information about this scheme and the best way of getting one to you if needed.
Ensure to let your energy supplier know, if the person you care for is vulnerable, of pensionable age, has a disability or a long-term medical condition. Each energy supplier keeps a Priority Services Register of people who may need additional assistance and it’s free to be added to the list. Gas and electricity suppliers have agreed an emergency package of measures to ensure vulnerable people do not get cut off amid the coronavirus outbreak.
For those self-isolating from coronavirus due to age, an underlying health condition, or if you are identified as being in one of the high risk groups, Seven Trent Water encourage you to join their Priority Service Register. contact them on 0345 750 0500.
- Charity and voluntary group support
- Mental wellbeing support
- MyChoice - our online local group and service directory. Although services may not be running as normal some may have adapted their service provisions.
- ONE Prepared - ensures that their residents are able to find their official local support network for direct help. Simply enter your postcode to get started
- Covid-19 Mutual Aid UK - get local support
- Main supermarkets - are looking to support vulnerable and older people by offering protected shopping time. Contact your local supermarket for more information.
If you need to provide care to support a vulnerable person, you need to do so safely. Full guidance on social distancing can be found on GOV.UK.
You can sign up to a repeat prescription delivery service if the person you care for is reliant on regular prescription medication. For further information and to check if your GP surgery uses this service see Free online prescription service (NHS).
You can shop online for grocery items and have them delivered. All home deliverers have measures in place to prevent infection spread including 'no contact' deliveries. If you do have to shop in-store, follow the social distancing measures outlined by the government.
Proving that you’re a carer
The Government’s guidance regarding social distancing measures does not specify that proof of providing essential care is required. However, some kind of 'proof' might be useful for carers leaving the home for short periods
If you feel that this would be useful for you, contact the Leicester Carer Support Service on 0116 222 0538.
Personal assistants (PAs) may not be able to support the person you look after if they need to shield or self-isolate.. If this happens, you should contact them in the first instance for advice.
Leicester City Council are writing to people in the City who have direct payments for Adult Social Care which will help you to plan what you can do if your PA becomes unwell and what to do if you have symptoms of Coronavirus. If you do not receive this letter, please contact Adult Social Care on 0116 454 1004
You can also find additional information and advice on personal assistants on our personal assistant information pages.
As an informal carer if neither of you is symptomatic of coronavirus, then no personal protective equipment is required above and beyond the good hygiene practices detailed on the NHS website. The Stay at home guidance provides information on washing your hands, cleaning and disposing of waste, and cleaning laundry, as well as other information for those living with a vulnerable person.
If you or the person you care for display symptoms of Coronavirus, see the government advice for carers Coronavirus (COVID-19): providing unpaid care for detailed advice of what actions and protective measures you should be taking.
If you are providing informal care at home and your usual arrangements for sourcing PPE aren’t available, contact our Adult Social Care team on 0116 4541004.
Advice and practical tips from the Alzheimer’s Society can be found below:
- Coronavirus: Supporting a person with dementia at home
- Coronavirus: Activity ideas for people living with dementia
- Coronavirus: Support for a person with dementia living alone
- Coronavirus: Supporting a person with dementia from a distance
- Coronavirus: Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
- Coronavirus: Other useful organisations and information
- Talking Point - talk with other people affected by dementia.
You can also speak to a dementia specialist Admiral Nurse, go to the Dementia UK’s Helpline webpage.
- COVID-19: guidance for the public on mental health and wellbeing provides advice and information on how to look after your mental health and wellbeing during the coronavirus outbreak. An Easy Read Guide is also available.
- LAMP - provides support to carers and are running weekly Zoom carer groups through video link for anyone that looks after someone with mental health difficulties. To contact them via phone call 0116 2556286.
- Leicester Life Links - offer mental health advice and support
Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust (LPT) has set up a dedicated phone line for people of all ages in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland to access urgent NHS mental health support 24 hours a day. The Central Access Point links callers with call handlers and clinicians who can assess their needs and advise, support, signpost or refer them directly to the appropriate service. You can access this service by calling 0116 2953060.
- Protecting yourself and the person you care for
- Supporting the person through change
- Maintaining your own health and wellbeing.
See recent government advice on Guidance on the mental health and wellbeing aspects of coronavirus which has additional information to support those with a learning disability, including Autism.
The Monday Club is a local group that provides social inclusion support for people with Autism. They are currently providing an opportunity for people to stay in touch with each other virtually on Monday evenings, 7pm to 9pm. For more information about the Monday Club, as well as how to join their video calls, visit the Monday Club website.