Last updated 31 July 2020 – downloadable face mask exemption badge

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.

Carer Support Wiltshire services for carers

Government sources of information on Cororonavirus (COVID-19)

Looking after the person you care for

Parent carers

Young carers & young adult carers

Support in your local community

Be aware of COVID-19 scams and rogue traders

What is the new Coronavirus Bill and how will affect me as a carer

I’m worried about my finances

Not feeling safe at home?

What is happening with Carer Support Wiltshire services?

As of 29th June 2020

During the Covid 19 emergency the service that Carer Support Wiltshire can offer has had to change. We’ve put together the following support for carers with the help of our staff and volunteers, who are committed to helping carers at this deeply difficult time.

  • Telephone helpline – open for advice and support (Monday-Thursday 0930 – 1630 and Friday 0930 – 1600). Please call us on 0800 181 4118 or email admin@carersupportwiltshire.co.uk if you need us.
  • Free counselling service – thanks to The National Lottery Community Fund funding, we are currently able to offer carers in Wiltshire 6 sessions of professional counselling over the phone or on video chat, completely free and available to anyone who is a carer. Please contact us on 0800 181 4118 or email admin@carersupportwiltshire to register/be referred.
  • Virtual cafes – our face-to-face carer cafes have moved online. With the support of staff and volunteers from Zurich Insurance we are running virtual cafes for carers who would like to regularly connect with other carers – to discuss issues, share tips or just have a chat and a break. Trained volunteers will be available to talk to in virtual ‘break-out rooms’ should a carer have a personal issue they’d like to discuss or a request for specific support. You can find when these are being held on our what’s on page. 
  • Enewsletter – you can keep in touch with us via our monthly emails by subscribing here.
  • Talk & support – Our Talk and Support befriending can put you in touch with one of our volunteers, many of whom have been carers themselves, for a quick chat. Call our helpline to register for this service.

Government sources of information on Coronavirus (COVID-19)

For the most up to date information on Coronavirus:

If you or the person you care for is exempt from wearing a face mask you can now download a badge/card to explain why you or they are exempt in case you are challenged.

Carers UK has released an updated guide for those shielding with the government’s current advice.

The Government has updated its guidance for people who are shielding. People who are shielding remain vulnerable and should continue to take precautions but can now leave their home if they wish, as long as they are able to maintain strict social distancing. To find out more about what has changed and what this might mean for you, read more.

The Government have released information on how the new test and trace programme works.

www.gov.uk/coronavirus

www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

Specific guidance from the Government for unpaid carers

Looking after the person you care for

How do I protect someone I care for from coronavirus?

Unpaid carers can now apply for a coronavirus test – find out more here and how you apply.

The Government has updated their guidance on shielding those most vulnerable to coronavirus.

We are now expected to follow social isolation guidelines to help protect the most vulnerable from the spread of the virus. This is clearly not that easy if you are caring for someone either in your home or in theirs. If you are regularly visiting your cared for we recommend following NHS hygiene guidelines to help prevent the spread of the virus.

The government has also issued advice for any households that think they might be infected with Covid-19.

Carers UK have some useful guidance about how best to follow the social isolation guidelines when caring for someone.

What do I do about shopping for the person I care for?

Wiltshire Council has a list of all the services that supermarkets are providing during this crisis. Click on community information and scroll down to supermarkets for more information. 

If you are struggling to access the supermarkets protected slots, we now have a letter available to carers registered with us that might help. Please call 0800 181 4118 or email admin@carersupportwiltshire.co.uk to request your copy.

If you need someone else to do your shopping for you there are a couple of options:

Wiltshire Councils well-being hub is set up to support vulnerable residents during the ongoing COVID-19 situation.  The team will be offering support and signposting to additional help in your local area. People can get in touch with the hub via email at wellbeinghub@wiltshire.gov.uk or by calling 0300 003 4576.  It’s available from 9am-5pm Monday-Friday.

You can contact the NHS Responders directly if you are caring for someone who falls within their criteria or you yourself do. Call 0808 196 3646 (8am to 8pm) to register. For more information on the criteria visit their website.

What about if I have care workers and other home help?

If you have paid carers, cleaners or other helpers coming into the home of the person that you care for, ensure they are following strict hygiene and infection control measures.

Please visit the NHS website for further advice.

I’m worried that I, or the person I care for, has coronavirus. What do I need to do?

The common symptoms of coronavirus are:

  • a cough,
  • a high temperature and
  • shortness of breath.

But these symptoms do not necessarily mean you have the illness. The symptoms are similar to other illnesses that are much more common, such as cold and flu. You can now, as an unpaid carer, self refer for a coronavirus test. See above for more info.

The NHS have now produced a COVID-19 symptom checker you can use. If you think you might have coronavirus or you’ve been in contact with someone who has it, go to the NHS website for the most up-to-date advice. You do not need to go to your GP or local hospital.

The NHS have also produced guidance about staying at home if you think you have the virus or a member of your household is suspected of having the virus.

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, we’d advise that you think about creating an emergency plan.

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 NHS 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 Adult Social Care on 0300 456 0111. If you are a parent carer, you can contact the Children’s Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub on 0300 456 0108.

There are some local communities that are setting up support networks so please check your local social media groups and press.

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 staff and other clients from the virus.

  • If you need urgent advice outside of normal office hours then contact Adult Social Care on 0300 456 0100.

Parent Carers

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 including some learning resources and activities.

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.

Parents and carers urged parents, carers and others looking after children across Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire are being advised not to let worries about coronavirus delay them from seeking medical help this Easter.

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

Do you have any learning resources for children while they are at home?

Work Wiltshire have produced this useful list of learning resources.

Young carers & young adult carers

For information around the cancellation of exams, find the governments exam FAQ page

Young carers can find more information on our young carers website. Those aged 16-25 can find information on  www.YACbook.co.uk

Support in your local community

Wiltshire’s many voluntary and community organisations are working hard to support all the people they work with as best they can. In order to do that, we are all joining forces to work in partnership so that we can all cover the geographical spread to reach and support as many people as need us across Wiltshire.

The organisations we are working closely with are list below and their will have details of the services they are currently providing on their websites:

Age UK 01380 727767

Alzheimer’s Support 01225 776481

Wiltshire Citizens Advice 03444 111 444

Wiltshire Centre for Independent Living 0300 123 3442

Wiltshire Parent Carer Council 01225 764 647

How do I find out what support there is in my local community?

Wiltshire Council well-being hub is available to support vulnerable residents during the ongoing COVID-19 situation.  The team will be offering support and signposting to additional help in your local area. People can get in touch with the hub via email at wellbeinghub@wiltshire.gov.uk or by calling 0300 003 4576.  It’s available from 9am-6pm Monday-Friday and 10am-4pm Saturday.

Wiltshire Council has now produced a list of all the community groups who have come forward to help during the COVID-19 outbreak. They will be keeping this as up to date as they can so if you don’t find help in your do check back.

How is the Coronavirus outbreak affecting Wiltshire Council services?

More information on what Wiltshire Council services are being affected by the Coronavirus outbreak is available on their website.

Be aware of COVID-19 scams and rogue traders.

It’s the sad truth that even in these difficult times people will try and take advantage of the vulnerable. There are a few places you can go to check out if something is a scam:

Website and Facebook page That’s Nonsense – has information on a variety of scams and fake news items.

Wiltshire Council has some advice about rogue traders.

The Financial Conduct Authority also has some advice about how to avoid coronavirus scams.

What does the new Coronavirus Bill and Emergency Measures mean for me as a carer?

Carers UK have produced two really useful Coronavirus Bill briefing documents that explain the implications of the new bill and special measures.

I’m worried about my finances

Many of you have been telling us you are struggling with your finances. There are several government schemes now available to help businesses and the self-employed. They have information on their COVID-19 website about the financial support that is available during this crisis. As of the 12 May, the Government have announced that the furlough scheme has been extended until the end of October.

The website Mobilise has also written this really useful article all about dealing with money during this difficult time.

Carers UK have written some useful guidance on changes to benefits, assessments and support due to the Coronavirus.

Wiltshire Council has just released updated information for those people receiving direct payments. If you receive a direct payment from Wiltshire Council to pay for support and care for your cared for but find yourself in a position where your support arrangements are unable to support you due to the wider impact of COVID-19 and you have no alternative arrangements available to you, please contact us on 0800 181 4118 to discuss your situation. If needed, we will contact Wiltshire Council on your behalf.

Wiltshire Council have announced that anyone who is struggling financially can defer their council tax payments until June 2020. You can call 0300 456 0109 or email counciltax@wiltshire.gov.uk to request the council tax deferral.

Not feeling safe at home?

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.