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Updated 06 July 2020

We recognise that this is a stressful and uncertain time for carers during the current COVID-19 situation.  We have some advice and information we hope will help you.

Looking after the person you care for

What happens if the care agency is unable to attend or if I become unwell and unable to care?

If you have a care agency that helps you with the person you care for, please note that due to the situation service providers such as care agencies may struggle to supply full services to everyone. Limited staffing resources may mean they have to prioritise the most vulnerable clients.  Any queries about care agencies, for example about visits should be addressed in the first instance to the agency concerned, and if that does not help, to Plymouth City Council, 01752 668000.

Family and neighbours may be able to help more in the current situation, but as a carer, please be prepared with a plan in case the care provider of the person(s) for whom you care is temporarily unavailable, or you   are unable to care.  It's best to ensure that you have extra provisions and enough medication to cover delays.  Carers UK have guidance to help you plan.

If you have not already registered with the Carers Emergency Response Service, this is a good time to do this. Further information can be found on the Gemcare website.

You can also please contact Plymouth 01752 668000.

ICE - In case of Emergency. This is a national scheme for anybody with a mobile phone. Just make sure that the people whom you would want contacted in an emergency are saved in contacts with ICE ahead of their name (or ICE 1, ICE 2 etc.).  Smartphones. Most smartphones have ICE or health apps that can give more detailed medical information in case of emergency.

What measures are paid carers taking to protect themselves and the people they care for from catching coronavirus?

All our carers wear full PPE to deliver care to those in their own homes and they continue to provide a sitting service to those that have been assessed as needing this requirement by social workers, or under a private arrangement by people contacting them direct.

We are constantly discussing and addressing the issues around Domiciliary Care staff and possible exposure to CV-19 with the Public Health England (PHE) Protection Team.

We appreciate this is a worrying time for all carers and are both proud and grateful in the way all our home care providers have addressed the challenges that have presented themselves on a daily basis. Since the start of this pandemic commissioners have fully supported all our domiciliary care providers and their staff by sharing the latest guidance received from the Government as soon as it is received and conducting twice weekly conference calls to discuss any concerns. We have also, amongst other initiatives, prepared a weekly newsletter with the latest advice and provided examples of shared good practice. We have set up a unique mailbox that is monitored 7 days a week to ensure that any immediate concerns are addressed. Daily calls are made so that no provider runs out of the essential recommended PPE and to check on the status of staffing and more importantly the care provided to all our service users. This support is ongoing and will not cease until a full return to business as usual is seen.

How can I help the person I care for with a cognitive problem such as dementia, autism or learning disabilities or mental health problems to cope with having to remain in lock down with their usual routine activities cancelled?

Please see some information to help you and your loved ones through this time.

Please note that Public Health England have amended the movement restrictions for those with health needs or learning disabilities, some carer's are now taking two short periods of exercise a day to help support the cared for.  Alzheimer Society or Dementia UK have fantastic publications to support Behavioural and Psychological Symptoms of dementia, with specific documents related to COVID.    

Re-think have very useful information on their websites for carers of people with mental ill-health.

How will day services start getting up and running again and what measures will be in place to support social distancing? For example, reopening but with minimal attendees? In particular there are concerns from/for elderly parents of those with learning disabilities returning to day services. So for them to have as clear as possible information and communication about what will be in place to keep people safe could help with anxieties.

Plymouth City Council is currently in a 'reset' phase - so looking at what services need to restart and how this might happen.  In terms of day services we do not anticipate a 'one size fits all' plan, as people, service types and service centres differ.

We are currently liaising with service providers to find what thoughts and ideas they have to restart provision in line with Government Guidance.  We will be asking Service Providers to find out what people using services and carers have to say; and we will be working jointly to come up with a safe plan.

More detail can be provided as this plan is progressed.

What is happening with the carer's service?

Caring for Carers continue to be available on the telephone, 01752 201890, during the usual hours of 9am - 5pm Monday-Friday and team members will be on hand to talk to you during these hours, and listen to your worries and concerns and provide support and advice.

I am struggling to get food and medication

As a carer you may be struggling with getting food or medication and do not want to risk going to the shops or may be shielding from COVID 19 yourself (shielding' means not leaving your home and minimizing contact with others.)  You can register for extra support if you or your loved one falls into the governments extremely vulnerable category (you should have received an NHS letter confirming this). If you know someone who is vulnerable and doesn't have access to the internet they can call 0800 0288327 Some people may be struggling with getting on-line shopping slots, there is a link here to some information from Which on how to get food deliveries

Caring for Plymouth

Caring for Plymouth is a service that Plymouth City Council has set up along with Livewell Southwest and a number of local charities that you can call upon that has volunteers that can help you with shopping, medicine collection, support with paying bills and accessing money and emotional support:.

NHS Responders

Another resource for people who are self-isolating/shielding including carers - you can now ask for support from NHS Volunteer Responders. The can help collecting shopping, medication or other essential supplies. They can also ask for a 'check in and chat' phone call to help prevent loneliness. People can access this support by phoning the Royal Voluntary Service on 0808 196 3646 (8am to 8pm).

How do I protect myself and the person I care for from getting COVID-19?

We are all expected to take social distancing measures to reduce social interaction between people in order to reduce the transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19).  The government has produced guidance on how best to do this.  They advise certain groups of people who are at increased risk of severe illness from coronavirus (COVID-19) to be particularly stringent in following social distancing measures.

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

The government has produced some helpful guidance for those that provide unpaid care.

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

I think I need PPE, where can I get it from?

Is available if you meet the recommended criteria for use, such as if the person you care for shows symptoms of having COVID-19 or if they are shielded group.  Please contact Caring for Carers, as above.

Who can get tested for corona virus COVID-19?

Current guidance around who may be tested and in what circumstances can be found on the GOV.UK website.

Help for carrying out caring role

View the free library of videos to help you in your role of carer.

There is also access to an on-line resources - create an account and use the free digital code DGTL1922

How can I stay well and healthy?

It is important that you look after your own health and wellbeing during this difficult time. 

There is lots of information on how you can do this, including exercising that you can do at home and how to keep your mind healthy.

Draw on support you might have through your friends, family and other networks during this time. Try to stay in touch with those around you over the phone, by post, or online. Let people know how you would like to stay in touch and build that into your routine. This is also important in looking after your mental wellbeing and you may find it helpful to talk to them about how you are feeling.

Join others for a virtual cuppa - we can help each other get through this.

Up to date information from the Government and Plymouth City Council on COVID-19

For the most up to date information on COVID-19:

Specific guidance from the Government for unpaid carers

I am worried about my finances

If you are worried about 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.

Carers UK have written some useful guidance on changes to benefits, assessments and support due to the COVID-19.

For advice on your finances, including how to claim benefits or any other financial information you can refer into Advice Plymouth online or telephone 0300 3309 043. For help managing debts there is the Debt Telephone Drop-In service on 01752 982 880

Plymouth City Council have advice about support with people struggling financially.

Please be assured that if you believe you may have contracted the virus, we will do all we can to ensure you and the person you care for will receive the care you need to stay safe and as well as possible. In this circumstance please call Plymouth City council on 01752 668000.

 

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