Being a carer in lockdown

The battle against COVID-19 has created many changes to how we live and as the situation changes the rules and  messages change too.  Unpaid carers have always performed a vital role and that network of support around a person is more important now than ever.  But, with a changing situation it can be difficult for carers to feel confident about what they are and are not allowed to do.  Here is a reminder of some of the important things that carers are still allowed to do.

Carers are allowed to care

You can be a carer and provide support to a vulnerable person, even if they live in a different household or you are not in a support bubble together. You can visit the home of the person you provide care for to support them and where you can, maintain social distancing.

Sometimes it isn’t possible to maintain social distancing when providing care support. You should still do what you can to limit close contact as much as possible and take other precautions such as washing hands and opening windows for ventilation.

You can still accept care and support services

Social care and health workers can still come and support you and the person you care for. They will make sure they do this in a safe, COVID-secure way which protects the person you care for, you, and themselves.

Carers can go to shops to buy food, essential items, pick up medicine, etc.  They can leave home for any medical reason including appointments; meet with one other person outdoors making sure they socially distance. If the person you care for needs your continuous care then they can go with you.  Carers can attend funerals (max 30 people) and they can go to work. If you can work from home you should (you will need agreement from your employer).  If you need to go to your place of work then you can and your employer needs to follow COVID-secure guidelines.

Carers can still go inside someone else’s home or garden

This can be to:

  • provide care support or assistance to a vulnerable person (i.e. to be a carer)
  • provide emergency assistance
  • help someone avoid injury or illness or to escape a risk of harm
  • visit a person who is dying
  • fulfil a legal obligation (e.g. Power of Attorney)

Carers can get their FREE flu vaccine

NHS flu vaccines are available from GPs and most pharmacies. They are free to carers. You can text “pharmacy flu” with your postcode to 80011 to find your nearest pharmacy offering the NHS flu jab; ask at your local pharmacy and tell them you are a carer, or ask your GP and tell them you are a carer.

Support bubbles and carers

A support bubble is where a household with just one adult joins with one other household. Households within a support bubble can still visit each other, stay overnight, and visit public places together.

This is different to being a carer; you can still go into people’s homes to provide care support to them, even if you are not in a support bubble.

What you can’t do

Carers can’t visit someone else’s home or garden or have someone come to their home or garden unless you’re providing care support; you’re in a support bubble, or it is for work purposes (including social care and health professionals).  You also can’t currently go on holidays or day trips out.

What to do if you can no longer provide care

Planning for what will happen if you are unable to continue to provide care is very important. This can include you having COVID-19 symptoms but also any other health emergency, flare-up, or unforeseen situation which prevents you from providing care. It can be difficult to think about this, but having a good plan is the best way to support the person you love in case something happens to you.  The Unpaid Carers Plan B template can help you make this plan.

Helpful guidance

Government guidance on providing care be found online.

If you or the person you care for has COVID-19 symptoms you need to follow the government’s guidance and get a test to check if you have the virus.