Coronavirus advice for carers
Things continue to change rapidly. We’ve some key information on this page, with links to further sources of support in Surrey and nationally.
As always, please get in touch with us for help and advice. You can call us on 0303 040 1234, or email CarerSupport@actionforcarers.org.uk. You can also text us on 07714 075993. We can also support you with a video chat (via Zoom).
It’s also worth noting the Surrey Community Helpline number – 0300 200 1008. Call them for help with things like food shopping, collecting prescriptions, etc. Full details on Surrey County Council’s website where you can also request help online. If you are deaf or hard of hearing, SMS is 07860 053465. There is also a Textphone (via text relay) facility via 18001 0300 200 1008 and a Sign Language Video Relay service. This Surrey County Council page outlines their support for carers at this time – and there’s further guidance here.
You’ll also find official Government advice for carers on the .gov website. And this page has guidance on staying safe outside the home, such as use of face masks (and how to make your own).
On this page you will find information on the following (you can click to jump to the section):
If you or the person you look after are defined as extremely vulnerable on medical grounds, then you should practise ‘social shielding’. Social shielding goes further than social distancing and means that you should not leave your home (even for shopping) and should minimise all non-essential contact with other members of the household. There have been recent changes to the categories and the guidance for social shielding, and these rules are expected to change on 6th July and 1st August. There is a lot more information and more specific detail on the gov.uk website.
If you are worried that you or someone you look after may be at risk, NHS 111 can offer direct guidance as they have set up an online coronavirus helpline. The NHS will be contacting people who are at particularly high risk of getting seriously ill from Monday 23 March onwards. If you suspect you or your looked after person fall into this category but you haven’t received a letter by Sunday 29th March, you should call your GP or hospital clinician.
It is important to know that you can also register for support as an extremely vulnerable person. The government will ensure you get support with things like deliveries and food supplies. You can register for this on someone else’s behalf and if you’re not 100% sure you are classified as ‘extremely vulnerable’ the advice is to register anyway.
From 4th May, the Government classified unpaid carers as ‘essential workers‘ meaning you are now eligible for a COVID-19 test. To find out how you can access a test you should visit the Surrey County Council website’s dedicated testing page. There’s a lot of information here, including how to book your test, which needs to be done by registering on the Surrey testing hub page. Once you have registered a member of the testing team will contact you to book your appointment.
Test and trace
Please click on this government page to find out more about test and trace.
Now is a good time to get organised and make a plan. Key things to think about are:
- Have an emergency plan
- Let your GP know you are a carer
- Book yourself a test
- Plan your shopping for supplies
- Sort out your Carers’ Assessment
- Look after yourself
- Register with us
For more detailed information, have a look at our page called What do I need to do now?
Many carer households will have paid carers coming to the house. You may also be a carer who lives apart from the person you care for and so have to go to their house. You might be concerned about the risks of infection, but here are two extremely helpful guidelines:
This Government guidance explains exactly what care workers should be doing and so you can confirm with your worker or agency that they are following these guidelines to put your mind at rest.
If you are a carer who has to visit your relative’s home, take a look at this helpful guidance.
If you have any questions, please contact us on 0303 040 1234.
If you become unwell with Coronavirus symptoms you should call 111 to get the latest advice and information, and let them know you are a carer. You can also use the NHS 111 online coronavirus helpline or visit the NHS Coronavirus information page.
You may need to let Surrey County Council’s relevant Social Care team know about your situation:
Surrey Adult Social Care Line – 0300 200 1005
Surrey Children Social Care Line – 0300 470 9100 (option 1+2)
Mental Health Carers – 0208 547 8030
Out of hours emergency line – 01483 517 898
Where you can, follow guidance on self-isolation. Ideally remove yourself or the person you care for to a different location. If you can’t, then self-isolate as much as possible within your home.
Surrey County Council have a new service, the Community Helpline. Advisors will let people know of trusted services who can help with things like picking up medication or doing shopping for you.
The Community Helpline number is 0300 200 1008, and it is open Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm.
You can also see a list of many of these trusted services – mostly Councils for Voluntary Services and Volunteer Centres – here listed by area.
Other voluntary groups are springing up locally, e.g. via Facebook. These are lovely, but sadly a few may be scammers looking to take advantage. So we suggest you use the Community Helpline as given above.
If you have a dog you might need help with walks. Ask friends or neighbour to help. More information on pets care and advice here.
If you are self-isolating and want to make that clear to visitors, consider downloading this poster, and putting it in your front window.
We’re pulling together information about the many things you can do to keep yourself active and well while at home – including ways to keep connected with others. You can find our coronavirus wellbeing pages here and you can also take a look at our standard wellbeing page.
We also have some tips on good mental health in these challenging times. You can also have a look at Active Surrey who have some great workouts for all ages and abilities. They also have lots of useful information around COVID generally.
Visiting hours and conditions at Surrey’s hospitals are changing because of the situation.
We will post updates on our hospital pages as we have them.
Please note our Hospital Carer Support Advisors are still available to help you, though now working from home, communicating by phone and email.
There have been some updates to transport and vehicles including a six month extension to MOT expiry dates due on or after 30th March although you must keep your vehicle safe to drive.
The majority of council run car parks in Surrey are also offering free parking until the end of June, which can be helpful if you need to collect prescriptions or supplies for your looked after person. Check the Surrey County Council parking page to see if your borough is included.
Timetables for public transport across the county have been revised, providing a reduced service so it’s worth checking the council’s website for updates – and don’t forget, passengers are now asked to wear a mask.
We are still working to support carers (and registering new ones) but due to the outbreak, we’ve changed some things about how we offer that support.