Here we try to answer some of the key questions that carers have been asking us about Coronavirus.

How do I protect someone I care for from coronavirus?

The Government is now advising social isolation for the most vulnerable to reduce the risk of them contracting 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. This NHS video shows how to properly wash hands.

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

Those who have a medical condition that makes them extremely vulnerable to Coronavirus can register to get help with delivery of essential supplies like food.

Find out who is eligible and register on the government 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 symptoms of coronavirus are:

  • a cough
  • a high temperature
  • 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.

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. There is an online symptom checker here.

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.

We’d advise that you think about creating an emergency plan. Carers UK also have some useful advice on creating an emergency plan.

How do I create an emergency plan?

We advise all carers to create an emergency plan – for you and all those you look after. Having a plan in place can help ease your worries if you are not able to care for those you look after at any point in the future. Carers UK has some useful advice on creating an emergency plan

In order to create an emergency plan that fits your needs, you will need to consider:
– details of the name and address and any other contact details of the person you look after
– who you and the person you look after would like to be contacted in an emergency – this might include friends, family or professionals
– details of any medication the person you look after is taking
– details of any ongoing treatment they need.

Think about whether there are alternative ways of getting shopping to the person/people you care for by speaking to neighbours, family or friends. The public sector, business, charities, and the general public are gearing up to help those advised to stay at home.

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.

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

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 are unable to arrange alternative care, you can contact Adult Social Care on 01305 221016. Out of hours, there’s the Adult Social Care Out of Hours Telephone: 01305 858250.

The out of hours service:
– Provides emergency cover and access to essential services when our daytime services are closed.
– Gives information and advice and, where necessary, makes visits to further assess needs and provide services.
Our telephone lines are open Monday to Thursday from 5pm to 8am and from 4pm Friday to 8am Monday.

Are there any organisations locally that can help with food deliveries/prescription collections?

Help and Kindness have compiled a list of organisations that can help you and are adding to that list regularly. Please keep an eye on their website or contact us for further details.

The Leonardo Trust have also set up a carer support line due to be open from 30 March 2020 – Monday to Friday, 10am to 2pm. Tel: 01202 698325 or Text: 07742 868002. Please call the office number or text the mobile number during the helpline opening hours.

For carers (who have health conditions) and the people (they care for) with health conditions who have not yet received letters from NHS/Government regarding being classed in the vulnerable/at risk group there is now a link for you to register if you have not received an NHS letter. (This can help with accessing food deliveries etc.)
https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus-extremely-vulnerable

How can I keep myself well while in self-isolation?

We are all in a very testing time mentally at the moment. Here are some tips for staying well during this time:

Physical Wellbeing

– drink plenty of water to stay hydrated – drink enough so your pee is pale and clear
– take paracetamol to help ease your symptoms
– stay in touch with family and friends over the phone or on social media, to help you avoid feeling low or lonely
– try to keep yourself busy – you could try activities like cooking, reading, online learning and watching films
– do light exercise, if you feel well enough to

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/self-isolation-advice/

Mental Wellbeing

– Find out about your employment & benefits rights
– Plan practical things
– Connect with others
– Talk about your worries
– Look after your body
– Stay on top of difficult feelings
– Do not stay glued to the news
– Carry on doing the things you enjoy
– Take time to relax
– Create a daily routine
– Look after your sleep
– Keep your mind active

https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/coronavirus-covid-19-staying-at-home-tips/

For other suggestions, please give us a call on 0800 368 8349 or email admin@carersupportdorset.co.uk

Who can I turn to if I am feeling depressed/low?

It’s important that you get help if you are feeling low and do know that you are not alone.

We can put you in touch with organisations that may be able to help you, please call us on 0800 368 3849.

The Leonardo Trust have set up a carer support line open Monday to Friday, 10am to 2pm. Tel: 01202 698325 or Text: 07742 868002. Please call the office number or text the mobile number during the helpline opening hours.

Open 24/7, The Samaritans can talk to you during difficult times. Call them for free on 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org

What can I do to occupy my cared for person now that day activities have closed?

Please contact us for suggestions on what you can do for your cared for in this situation. Call on 0800 368 8349 or email admin@carersupportdorset.co.uk

I know someone who needs help – who do I contact?

Many of us have family, friends, neighbours or community groups to help us get food, medicines and essential supplies. For those without a support network, Dorset Council have set up a helpline 01305 221022, open 8am-8pm, 7 days a week.

Age UK (North, South and West Dorset) and Age UK (North, South and West Dorset) are coordinating requests for help with issues relating to loneliness and isolation, or support in accessing items such as food, cash or medication. Support is available to all residents within the Dorset Council area.

To request help email: enquiries@ageuknswd.org.uk or call 01305 269444. Each request will be individually assessed and categorised according to the individual’s level of need.

Citizens Advice – Citizens Advice continues to provide free, independent and confidential advice and information whatever your question. They offer a full range of advice including help with:

• Benefits entitlement and claims
• Debt management and budgeting
• Employment advice including Statutory Sick Pay and rights when laid off work
• Advice for the self employed

Contact the Dorset Adviceline on 0344 411 1444 or email your local branch:

Bridport: advice@bridport-cab.org.uk
Central (North Dorset, Sherborne, Dorchester & Weymouth & Portland): http://westdorsetca.org.uk/
East Dorset: wimborne@eastdorset.cabnet.org.uk
Purbeck: http://www.purbeckadvice.org.uk/contact-us.html

Where can I go to get help with IT issues?

Dorset Council’s Digital Champions can help with your IT questions. If you want to set up Skype or perhaps do your first online delivery. Their helpline is open Monday-Friday, 10am-12noon. Anyone can call the Dorset Digital Hotline with an IT question on 01305 221048.

What is happening with Carer Support Dorset services?

As of 19 March

Following the statement by the Government and the increased risk of infection from Covid-19 we are taking the following action:

  • Any face-to-face and community support will be suspended with immediate effect.
  • We are still offering a telephone service (Monday 9.30am-7pm, Tuesday-Thursday 9.30am-4.30pm and Friday 9.30am-4pm. We are also open on the first Saturday of the month from 9.30am-12.30pm). Please call us on 0800 368 8349 or email us admin@carersupportdorset.co.uk if you need support or advice.

The referral process for Care Act assessments is still the same as before however Care Act assessments by Dorset Council will now be carried out by phone, wherever possible.

Are Carer Support Dorset still issuing Dorset Carer Cards?

Due to the current Coronavirus situation, we are temporarily unable to post out Dorset Carer Cards.

If you would like to discuss this or think you may be entitled to a Dorset Carer Card then please call us to discuss on 0800 368 8349.

We are acutely aware that this is a very worrying time for you and the people that you care for are at particular risk. We will do all we can to support you at this difficult time.