Last updated 29th May 2020 – updated information on test & trace & revised open times for wellbeing hub.
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?
As of 29 April
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.
- Our telephone helpline is open for advice and support (Monday-Thursday 0930 – 1630 and Friday 0930 – 1600). We aim to respond to all enquiries within 24 hours. Please call us on 0800 181 4118 or email email@example.com if you need us.
- Wiltshire Council are still providing support for unpaid carers under the Care Act but this may be affected by the lockdown measures. If the support carers have in place for the person they care for has changed or they are unable to manage, we are still able to offer assistance. Carers should call 0800 181 4118 or Wiltshire Council on 0300 456 0111 during office hours.
- Our face-to-face carer cafes are moving online. With the support of staff 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.
- We are keeping in touch with all registered carers via regular emails and posted communications, ensuring that carers are informed on the latest guidance for carers and help and services available to you. If you’re not already signed up to our emails, subscribe here.
- Our support staff and a team of volunteers are contacting vulnerable carers by phone, to check in with them and provide support where needed. Our Talk and Support befriending scheme has recently been awarded a £8,500 grant from Wiltshire Community Foundation which will mean we can regularly check in with up to 350 of the county’s most at-risk carers, many of who are aged over 70yrs and may also not have internet access.
- As funding becomes available from many different sources to help communities through this crisis, we are flying the flag for carers and will ensure any funds we can obtain go to help the most vulnerable carers. Examples include obtaining IT equipment and training to ensure carers are able to stay in touch with family and friends. Please talk to us about challenges and needs you are going through at this time as we will continually be looking for ways we can address these new issues.
Government sources of information on Coronavirus (COVID-19)
For the most up to date information on Coronavirus:
The Government have released information on how the new test and trace programme works.
Looking after the person you care for
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 firstname.lastname@example.org to request your copy.
If you need someone else to do your shopping for you there are a couple of options:
Wiltshire Council has launched (31/3/20) a new well-being hub 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 email@example.com or by calling 0300 003 4576. It’s available from 8am-8pm Monday-Friday and 10am-4pm Saturday and Sunday.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
- 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.
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.
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
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 0300 003 4576. It’s available from 8am-6pm Monday-Friday and 10am-4pm Saturday and Sunday.
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:
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 email@example.com to request the council tax deferral.
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.