Updated Government guidance for unpaid carers

The Government have updated the main guidance for those who provide unpaid care to friends and family which can be read here but specifically the changes published today are:

Facemasks and protective clothing (PPE)

You do not need to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) when delivering care unless advised to do so by a healthcare professional, like a GP, or nurse.

You should continue to follow advice in this guidance and the guidance on shielding and protecting people who are clinically extremely vulnerable from coronavirus on how to protect yourself and those you care for.

Wearing a face covering if you have to go out

You should wear a face covering in enclosed public spaces where social distancing is not possible and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet. Guidance on face coverings is available on GOV.UK. You must wear a face covering on public transport and when you go to the shops.

It is important to use face coverings properly and wash your hands before putting them on and taking them off. You can make face coverings at home. The key thing is that it should cover the mouth and nose.

If you’re a carer and you have symptoms – how to get tested

Carers providing unpaid care are listed as essential workers and those prioritised for testing. For more information see the getting tested guidance. If you have symptoms of coronavirus you can request a test for yourself to see if you have the virus, or on behalf of someone you care for.

If someone in your household has symptoms you should follow the Stay at home guidance which states that if you live alone and you have symptoms of COVID-19, however mild, stay at home for 7 days from when your symptoms started.

If you live with others and you are the first in the household to have symptoms of coronavirus, then you must stay at home for 7 days, but all other household members who remain well must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days.

The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill. For anyone else in the household who starts displaying symptoms, they need to stay at home for 7 days from when the symptoms appeared, regardless of what day they are on in the original 14-day isolation period.

However, we appreciate this may not be easy to achieve where you provide close contact care for a spouse or relative such as washing and bathing.

If you care for a person in a clinically ‘vulnerable group’ do not visit if you are unwell and make alternative arrangements for their care with family members and friends. If you cannot organise alternative care you can contact your local authority or NHS trust.

If you care for a person in a clinically ‘extremely vulnerable group’, you should strictly avoid contact with the person you care for and, where possible, ask friends and family who can support you for help in providing care. You can also get help from NHS Volunteer Responders by calling 0808 196 3646 (between 8am and 8pm).

You should distance yourself from the person you care for as much as possible and follow the above guidance.

If you cannot organise alternative care you can contact your local authority or healthcare provider. If you do not know how to do this, you can contact NHS 111.