Last updated 11 October 2021
Here we try to answer some of the key questions that carers have been asking us about Coronavirus. Click on the links below to find the information you need.
What is happening with Carer Support Wiltshire services?
We are still here for you with the following support:
- Telephone helpline – open for advice and support (Monday-Thursday 0930 – 1630 and Friday 0930 – 1600). Please call us on 0800 181 4118 or email email@example.com if you need us.
- Carer cafes – our face-to-face cafes are now back up and running. Visit our what’s on page for more details.
- Virtual meet-ups – we run a number of virtual meet-ups online, which many carers find helpful. They’re an opportunities to meet people in a similar situation to yours and are facilitated by friendly CSW staff. Find out when these are taking place on our what’s on page or call us on the above number.
- Here to Talk – Our Here to Talk befriending service can put you in touch with one of our volunteers, many of whom have been carers themselves, for a friendly chat either on the phone or via a virtual meeting. Call our helpline to register for this service.
- Email newsletter – you can keep in touch with us via our monthly emails by subscribing here.
Government sources of information on Coronavirus (COVID-19)
For the most up to date information on Coronavirus visit the Government’s COVID 19 website pages.
The government have now published guidance for how to protect people who are extremely clinically vulnerable after 19 July.
Information on the COVID vaccine for unpaid carers
You can find out about the COVID vaccine on the governments website www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/
The NHS Clinical Commissioning Group has launched a new website for vaccination queries from the public. Questions relating to the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine can be answered by visiting https://www.bswccg.nhs.uk/latest-covid-19-updates.
Vulnerable people will be offered the Covid-19 booster vaccine from the week of 20 September 2021. The programme will be rolled out to the same priority groups as previously. This means care home residents, health and social care workers, people aged over 50, those aged 16-49 years with underlying health conditions that put them at higher risk of severe Covid-19, adult carers, and adult household contacts of immunosuppressed individuals.
Those eligible will be contacted by the NHS directly.
Immuno-supressed patients, such as those receiving chemotherapy, who believe they are eligible for a third dose are being asked to identify themselves to their GP practice, who can then make arrangements for the vaccination appointment.
The Government has announced that all children aged 12 to 15 will be offered a Covid-19 vaccine. This includes children who have no underlying health conditions. The JCVI recommends that children aged 12 or over who are in the same household as someone who is immunosuppressed should be offered a Covid-19 vaccine.
Booster vaccines to those in care homes are currently being given in Wiltshire. A number of care homes in Swindon have already been visited and care homes in Wiltshire and Bath and North East Somerset will be visited throughout October.
The flu vaccine is encouraged for all over 50s.
The offer of a Covid-19 vaccination does not expire, and people can book their jab quickly and easily online or over the phone.
Who to contact if you are struggling during isolation
The rules on when you need to isolate have changed. You can find information here. Most commonly, you will need to isolate if you have symptoms of Covid-19 and are waiting for the result of a PCR test or you have tested positive for Covid-19. if you find yourself struggling to cope with your caring role, or maybe you need some help with shopping or picking up prescriptions, there are various organisations you can contact:
- If you feel you need support for your caring role please call our helpline on 0800 181 4118.
- If you need help and do not have any family, friends or neighbours who can support you, you can contact the Wiltshire Council Wellbeing Hub. They can help you with:
- arranging deliveries of food and other essentials
- loneliness and wellbeing
- You can contact them on 0300 003 4576 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm; 10am-4pm Saturdays.
How is the pandemic affecting Wiltshire Council services?
More information on what Wiltshire Council services are being affected by the Coronavirus outbreak is available on their website.
Looking after the person you care for
You can get the latest NHS guidance on Coronavirus on their website.
There is separate additional guidance for households with a possible or confirmed coronavirus infection.
Free PPE for some unpaid carers
The Department for Health & Social Care has announced that some unpaid carers can now request free PPE. Here is a link to the full guidance for carers: www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-providing-unpaid-care
We’re delighted that in Wiltshire we will be the first point of contact for enquiries about this and will register carers PPE needs and pass this on to the local authority to distribute. Carers can request PPE if they care for or go into the home of someone they don’t live with to provide care or support.
How to request your PPE
Call us on 01380 908008 to request your PPE. This number will be open Monday – Thursday 9.00am-4.30pm; Friday 9.00am-4.00pm.
How much PPE will carers be entitled to?
This will depend on how many visits you make each week.
Information on using PPE
How do I protect someone I care for from coronavirus?
If you or the person you are caring for are clinically extremely vulnerable, you are no longer advised to shield. However, you should continue to follow the guidance for people who are clinically extremely vulnerable and are advised to continue taking extra precautions to protect yourself and the person you care for. It is important that you continue to keep the number of social interactions that you have low and try to limit the amount of time you spend in settings where it is difficult to maintain social distancing.
Clinically extremely vulnerable people should take extra precautionary measures if providing essential care, and ensure you follow the NHS hygiene advice for people at higher risk.
Carers UK have some useful advice on protecting the person you care for from coronavirus on their website.
What do I do about shopping for the person I care for?
If you struggling to get shopping or need someone else to do your shopping for you there are a couple of options:
- Contact the Wiltshire Wellbeing Hub at email@example.com by calling 0300 003 4576. It’s available from 9am-5pm Monday-Friday
- If you are struggling to access the supermarkets online deliveries, we now have a letter available to carers registered with us that might help. Please call 0800 181 4118 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to request your copy.
What if I am advised to ‘self-isolate’?
If advice from the gov.uk or NHS websites is that you must self-isolate then you may need to make plans for alternative face-to-face care for the person you care for, for example by calling on trusted family members, friends or neighbours.
The Government’s website has useful guidelines if you have to self-isolate.
These guidelines will be particularly challenging for carers who live with the person they care for.
If you are unable to arrange alternative care, you can contact Wiltshire Council Adult Social Care on 0300 456 0111.
If you are a parent carer, you can contact the Children’s Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) on 0300 456 0108.
Take a look at our information above about organisations that can help with things like shopping and picking up prescriptions.
If you have paid carers or other home help coming into the house, you must inform them that you are self- isolating. They will need to carry out a risk assessment and take steps to protect themselves and other clients from the virus.
- If you need urgent advice outside of normal office hours then contact Wiltshire Council Adult Social Care on 0300 456 0100.
What do I do if I have to change my support arrangements?
If the person you are caring for receives a direct payment or service from Wiltshire Council but you are now in a position where you are unable to use your support arrangements due to the wider impact of COVID-19 and you have no alternative arrangements available to you, please contact Wiltshire Council on 0300 456 0111 to discuss your situation. If you are in receipt of a direct payment for you following a Carers Assessment and you wish to make a change to how you use it please call us on 0800 181 4118.
What do I do if I have a loved one in a care home?
The Government has released new guidance to support safe visits to care home during this lockdown. You can read the guidance in full on their website.
Can I visit the person I am caring for when they are in hospital?
To help stop the spread of the virus, most hospitals are currently limiting hospitals visits to one person for one hour.
To find out what your local hospitals is doing please visit their website. If you are planning on visiting someone who is in hospital, it is advised to call the ward or hospital first.
I’m concerned that if I contract coronavirus I will need to go into hospital and there will be no one to look after the person I care for.
If you are concerned that the person you care for cannot manage without your support, make sure that you tell hospital staff on arrival.
As a carer you need to know that if something happens to you, replacement care will be sorted out quickly and efficiently. If you already have a Carers Emergency Card we’d recommend you make sure the information is up to date.
If you haven’t signed up yet for a Carers Emergency Card, we’d advise that you think about creating an emergency plan.
- Carers UK also have some useful advice on creating an emergency plan
- As does Wiltshire Council.
- And Wiltshire CIL have an emergency plan template you can download from their website.
Looking after yourself
We know that the coronavirus pandemic has put a huge strain on many carers. Many of you have taken on extra caring responsibilities. A lot of you have felt increasingly isolated.
If you are feeling lonely or isolated:
- Why not join one of our virtual meet-ups or our face to face cafes? They’re an opportunity to meet people in a similar situation to yours and are facilitated by friendly CSW staff and volunteers. Find out when these meet-ups are taking place on our website
- Give us a ring on 0800 181 4118 and ask to join our Talk and Support befriending service. One of our trained volunteers will call you regularly via phone or video call, to listen to anything you’d like to talk about. Many are former or current carers themselves and will understand and empathise with your situation.
Mind has some useful resources on how to support your mental wellbeing. You can find out more on Minds website.
For specific support for young carers and young adults carers see below.
If you are part of the LGBTQ+ community and need specific support during COVID-19, click here to find a list of organisations that can help you.
I’m a parent carer and have a young carer at home too, what help is there for me?
Queries about support for young carers in Wiltshire 5-15 years old should be directed to the Wiltshire Council Young Carers Team: YoungCarersTeam@wiltshire.gov.uk
The Wiltshire Parent Carer Council also have some useful resources for parent carers.
YoungMinds also has a free parent helpline for any parents/carers worried about a young person under 25. They are still open at this time.
New 24 hour mental health helpline for young people, children, and those concerned about a young persons mental health.
Barnardo’s has launched a new helpline for children and families affected by covid-19.You can call them for free on 0800 157 7015 to speak to a friendly person in their team. Monday to Friday 9am – 9pm and Saturday and Sunday 10am – 6pm or use the form on their website.
Support from the Wiltshire Schools Nursing Service – for parent of any school age child
- We have duty nurses available at the end of the phone Monday to Friday 9-5pm should you require any support with your school age child. This is available permanently for all parents to access for advice and support. If you would like support please call one of our duty nurses through our Single Point of access on 0300 247 0090
- Keep up to date with messages sent from individual schools through their own communication platforms.
- If you have concerns about a young person please call Wiltshire MASH on 0300 456 0100
Young carers & young adult carers
I’m worried about my finances
The Government has released new support for those on low incomes who might be affected financially by having to self-isolate. Wiltshire Council has more information on their website.
Citizens Advice has guides on the furlough scheme, if you need time off to care for someone affected by coronavirus, if you’re self employed or worried about working.
The Government has updated its guidance on the financial support available for those in work but affected by the COVID pandemic.
Carers UK has some useful guidance on changes to benefits, assessments and support due to the Coronavirus.
It’s understandable having to stay at home due to the current situation might cause anxiety and worry for those who are experiencing or at risk of domestic abuse. But you are not alone, and it’s important to remember that there is help and support available to you. The government has produced a guide on where to get help, free helplines, and what to do if you call the police and can’t speak.
In Wiltshire, there is also the Splitz Support Service for those experiencing domestic abuse.