Guidance for unpaid carers can be found on the government's website. This page is regularly updated and contains significant information.
Further links and information can also be found on the main government Coronavirus (COVID-19) page at www.gov.uk/coronavirus.
If you are worried about your health or somebody you care for, use the NHS 111 online
If you (or their) symptoms become severe, call 111 and let them know you are a carer.
Only call 111 if you cannot get help online.
From 1 April 2022, free testing for coronavirus (COVID-19) from the NHS has ended for most people in England
Please see the government's web page on changes to Covid 19 testing in England from 1 April for more information about the specific groups who can continue to access free tests if they have COVID-19 symptoms.
We are awaiting further updates around carers and await full guidance setting out how the current testing regimes will change to reflect the Living with COVID-19 strategy, this should include specific guidance for high-risk settings.
You can also find out more on our Coronavirus (COVID-19) page.
Vaccinations for unpaid carers
All adults including unpaid carers aged 16 and over are eligible for the Covid-19 vaccine which can be booked via the National Booking Service.
To find local information visit the local NHS website.
You will be invited to take the booster jab from three months after your second jab (or third for those with a weakened immune system). Previously it was six months after the last dose, but the NHS is now offering booster doses with a shorter minimum gap of three months.
You can pre-book a booster dose of the vaccine if it's been 2 months (61 days) since your 2nd dose, the appointment dates you'll be offered will be from 3 months (91 days) after your 2nd dose.
You can book your booster via the National Booking Service.
Good hygiene advice
Even with vaccinations, there remains a risk of transmission, therefore good hygiene practice remains important.
Following measures such as:
- frequent hand-washing, including washing your hands on arrival, using soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser
- minimising physical contact where possible
- not visiting the person you care for if you are unwell and instead help to make alternative arrangements for the person’s care. See our planning for emergencies and the future page.
- cleaning surfaces regularly
- covering your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
- putting used tissues in the bin immediately and washing your hands afterwards
Access to personal protective equipment (PPE) for unpaid carers
You can continue to access COVID-19 PPE free of charge until 31 March 2023 or until infection prevention and control (IPC) guidance is withdrawn or significantly amended.
From 1 April 2022, access to COVID-19 PPE will be provided by the Department of Health and Social Care DHSC.
If you have previously accessed PPE via Leicestershire and the Local Resilience Forum you will receive a letter or email detailing the changes and links to allow you to access the government portal for your PPE orders. Your PPE will then be dispatched to you direct.
For new requests for Carer PPE the DHSC will require verification by Leicestershire County Council before you can use the new portal. Please email email@example.com detailing your requirements.
If you live with the person or people you care for, it is not currently recommended that you wear PPE unless advised to do so by a healthcare professional, like a GP or nurse.
This offer is available to cover PPE needs that have arisen due to COVID-19 and where 2m social distancing can't be maintained.
If you would normally use PPE because of the nature of the care you provide, you should continue to access it through your normal routes.
Supporting those who are finding self-isolating difficult
Self-isolating can be difficult for us all. For people who don't understand the reasons behind why they or their carers are isolating, it is likely to be even more difficult.
You can find some home-based, creative ways to support good mental health by visiting these links:
Additional useful advice and information for carers from Carers UK