Carers information and advice

Caring for someone can be difficult at times and even more so during the current COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak.

Looking after yourself is even more crucial at the moment, which can feel quite strange to you as your priority has always been the person you care for.

Take on board the social distancing measures to help reduce the transmission of the virus to yourself and those that are vulnerable. Read more here.

If you are worried that you or someone you look after has symptoms or you’ve been in contact with someone with confirmed coronavirus, follow the guidance set out here. NHS 111 can offer online help if required, and you can call 111 if symptoms become severe. Ensure you let them know you are a carer

Tips to help you prepare

Create an emergency plan

We would 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.

In order to create an emergency plan that fits your needs, you will need to consider:

Think about whether there are alternative ways of getting shopping to the person/people you care for –speak to neighbours, family or friends.

We would advise you to access medical assistance remotely, wherever possible. However, if you have a scheduled hospital or other medical appointment during this period, talk to your GP or clinician to ensure you continue to receive the care you need and consider whether appointments can be postponed.

Families may want to think about spending time together in a different way – you may find it valuable to explore Facetime or Skype, for example, as a way to talk face-to-face at a distance. If online communication isn't possible, never underestimate the value of a regular phone call to offer social contact and support.

Make sure your GP or medical professional knows that you are a carer

Please be aware that most GPs are now offering only telephone appointments.

Some GPs may be able to arrange for repeat prescriptions to be delivered to you or your local pharmacy.

If you receive support from health and social care organisations, have care provided for you through the local council or health care system, this will continue as normal. Your care provider will be asked to take additional precautions to make sure you are protected.

Find time for yourself no matter how small

Here are some ideas of things to help you with your wellbeing:

  • get out into the fresh air each day
  • call friends or family
  • learn something new
  • ask for help if you need it (remember, this does not mean you cannot manage).

Click here for further advice.

Carer’s assessment

Carers are entitled to a carer’s assessment under the Carer Act 2014. This is an assessment to look at what support you might need to help continue in your caring role at this time. And if you've already been assessed, it is always worth double checking you are receiving everything you're entitled to. Please be aware that, due to COVID-19, all carers assessments are currently being undertaken via a telephone call –or you can complete one on line. Find out more about assessments here.

Further help and support

Dorset HealthCare main carers' page

Connection 24/7 mental health helpline 0300 123 5440

Carer Support Dorset / 0800 3688349

Dorset Council / 01305 221016

Carers’ Resource Information and Support (CRISP) for Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch / 01202 458204

Carers UK / 0207 3784999

Department of Work and Pensions / Carers Allowance - 0345 608 4321 and Attendance Allowance - 0345 6056055

Leonardo Trust / 01202 698325

Citizens Advice

Carers Direct Helpline (NHS Direct) / 0300 123 1053. If you need help with your caring role and want to talk to someone about what options are available to you, this helpline is open from 8am to 9pm Monday to Friday, and from 11am to 4pm, at weekends. Calls cost the same as 01 or 02 number (also known as geographic numbers).

Age UK / Call 0800 055 6112. Helpline open: every day of the year, 8am to 7pm

Silverline - a free confidential helpline providing information, friendship and advice to older people, open 24 hours a day, every day of the year. Call 0800 4 70 80 90

Samaritans - whatever you're going through, you can call any time, from any phone for FREE 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org

NHS - COVID-19

Carers UK has a page on their website, regularly updated with key information:

carersuk.org/coronavirus

As well as answers to some FAQs from carers:

carersuk.org/coronavirus-further-support

There is also a page on looking after your mental wellbeing:

carersuk.org/coronavirus-mental-wellbeing

If you have received an NHS letter or are caring for someone who has, you can register for further support here www.gov.uk/cornonavirus-extremely-vulnerable or call 0800 028 8327, the government’s new dedicated helpline.

Peer Carer Support for mental health carers - If you are a mental health carer and need support, information and someone to talk to that understands, please get in touch with the Dorset Mental Health Forum's peer carer specialists via email or phone.Email carers@dorsetmentalhealthforum.org.uk. Call 01305 340045 on Monday, Thursday, and Friday or 01202 373305 on Tuesday and Wednesday between 10.30am and 4.30pm. You can leave a voicemail at any other time by calling 01305 340045. Please leave your name and contact details and someone will get back to you.

Support from our local councils - Dorset and BCP councils have set up special helplines for people that need help accessing vital food and household items during COVID-19. The helplines are intended for vulnerable people requiring vital items during the lockdown. Contact BCP Council by calling 0300 123 7052. Find more details here. And Dorset Council area by calling 01305 221 000 or email communityresponse@dorsetcouncil.gov.uk. Find out more details here.

Carers podcast

Welcome to our carers podcasts, organised by our carers team and the Recovery Education Centre.

In these podcasts, staff will be talking about why they don’t see themselves as carers and outline the five steps to wellbeing.

This episode focuses on the challenges for caring for a loved one during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Listen to ‘Am I A Carer, Or Am I Just A Mum, A Daughter, A Son, A Wife, A Husband, A Friend?’ above.

You can also listen to this podcast on your mobile phone or tablet. Find out how here.

COVID-19 (coronavirus)