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CORONAVIRUS UPDATE

Covid tiers latest

Leicestershire is now in national lockdown – here’s the latest information on our services. You can find more information about restrictions at gov.uk/coronavirus

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Coronavirus - Guidance for unpaid carers

Guidance for unpaid carers can be found on the government's website.

If you are worried that you or someone you look after may be at risk of the virus, you can get up to date guidance at www.gov.uk/coronavirus.

You can also use the NHS online symptom checker 

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.

    Also see: Frequently Asked Questions about your care, support and direct payments during coronavirus

    Good hygiene advice

    The government recognises that unpaid carers provide vital support. With lockdown in place unpaid carers can still provide care to people even if they do not live together. If you are an unpaid carer you should continue to take careful 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
    • minimise physical contact where possible
    • not visiting if you are unwell and instead help to make alternative arrangements for the person’s care. See more in the Planning section below.
    • clean surfaces regularly
    • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
    • put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards

    Carers Passports 

    We are pleased to say that in response to concerns raised over carer identification during the pandemic, Leicestershire County Council in partnership with Support for Carers are due to launch a carers passport scheme this month.

    Whilst visiting the person you provide care for, please ensure you have a carers passport which will identify you to others as a carer. If you are a carer living in Leicestershire and don't have a carers passport, you can contact Leicestershire Support for Carers for a discussion about your caring role and the support which they can offer. 
    Leicestershire Support for Carers continue to offer support to carers during lockdown via the telephone, email, and social media. 

    Support for Carers:
    Telephone: 01858 468 543 
    Email: maureen@supportforcarers.org

    Planning

    It is a good idea to plan ahead and speak to the person you care for about what happens if you or they become unwell. Think about preparing a contingency plan - there is a template provided on our website if you need some help.

    You may also want consider preparing an emergency overnight bag for the person you care for which could include:

    • emergency contacts
    • medication and a list of the types of medication they take (including dose and frequency)
    • any details of planned care appointments
    • snacks, pyjamas, toothbrush and toothpaste

    What to do if you or your cared-for person develops symptoms of the virus

    If you or somebody you look after start to display any of the symptoms of COVID-19, you must stop your face-to-face visits and self-isolate. 

    The main symptoms of COVID-19 are:

    • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you don't need to measure your temperature)
    • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
    • a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you've noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal

    Most people with COVID-19 have at least one of these symptoms, and you may wish to use the NHS online symptom checker

    If your (or the person you care for) symptoms become severe, call 111 and let them know you are a carer. Only call 111 if you cannot get help online.

    Testing

    If you do have symptoms, you can arrange a test to see if you have COVID-19. Find more information on how to arrange a test

    If you are unable to continue to support the person you care for

    If the person you care for is left without essential support as a consequence of you being unwell and you cannot source support from the links below or have no other informal support networks, please contact our Customer Service Centre on 0116 305 0004.

    Deaf or hard to hear: text 07949 633 788 instead

    Online contact form

    Emergencies/out of hours: Telephone the Emergency Duty team on 0116 255 1606 if you need to speak to adult social care outside of normal office hours.

    Prescriptions and shopping

    Think about whether there are alternative ways of getting shopping or medications to the person you care for. If the person you care for is reliant on regular prescription medication, contact your local pharmacy to find out if they offer a repeat prescription delivery service. Pharmacy delivery services will be under pressure at the moment, so it is important that you order repeat prescriptions in good time, to avoid delays in dispensing. 

    Information on repeat prescriptions and delivery services may also be available via your GP practice website.

    Cooked meals

    You may wish to purchase meals-on-wheels to be delivered to the person you care for. You can find some companies that offer this type of food deliveries.

    Support networks

    You should also check your district and borough council websites as they are in touch with local community groups who may be able to assist you:

    Blaby District Council 

    Oadby Wigston District Council 

    Charnwood Borough District Council

    Harborough District Council

    Hinckley and Bosworth District Council 

    Melton Borough Council 

    North West Leicestershire District Council

    Or see the NHS volunteer responders page

    Caring for somebody who is vulnerable

    COVID-19 can make anyone seriously ill. But for some people with certain underlying health conditions, the risk is higher.

    There are 2 levels of higher risk:

    • high risk (clinically extremely vulnerable)
    • moderate risk (clinically vulnerable)

    These terms are used to group those who are at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19. It may be useful to understand what these mean to you and the person your care for. For more information visit the NHS who is at higher risk from coronavirus page.

    People who are clinically extremely vulnerable should have received a letter telling them that they are vulnerable. If you believe the person you care for to be clinically extremely vulnerable and they haven't received a letter or been contacted by their GP, you should discuss your concerns with your GP or hospital clinician.
    There is also an advice available for the extremely vulnerable

    Online support

    When people are required to socially distance or self-isolate, support which you can access online is really useful. 

    We are signed up to Carers UK’s Digital Resource for Carers (DRC) - a tool for carers which can be used in any place, at any time and on any device. 
    The DRC includes:

    • About Me, an e-learning programme designed to build resilience in caring
    • Health and wellbeing resources 
    • Jointly, a care co-ordination app designed to create and support circles of care for people sharing caring 
    • Carers UK’s information guides including a self-assessment tool
    • Being Heard, a self-advocacy toolkit 
    • Looking After Someone, a comprehensive guide to the support carers are entitled to
    • Links to local information and support for carers.
    • Link to Carers UK’s own COVID-19 guidance for carers, including support for mental health, and a link to Carers UK’s online forum so that carers can connect and offer each other peer support.

    You can create an account to access the content using the free access code: DGTL7729

    Looking after yourself

    As an unpaid carer, it is important that you look after your own health and wellbeing, as well as supporting others you care for, especially given the likelihood of additional stress at the current time, such as worries around catching the coronavirus and potentially reduced access to support, such as respite care or day service provision for the person you are supporting. 

    Daily physical activity is important for health and wellbeing, and a great way of managing stress, and encouraging positive feelings and good sleep. You can find some free useful videos to help you

    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.

    Leicestershire Support for Carers continue to offer their support to carers during lockdown via the telephone, email, and social media. 

    Tel: 01858 468 543

    Email: maureen@supportforcarers.org

    Carers can also access our Mental Health Wellbeing and Recovery Support Service.

    Caring for someone with dementia

    If you are at home caring for someone with dementia, specialist advice and support can be accessed via our Dementia Support Service provided by the Alzheimer’s Society.

    Telephone: 0116 231 6921
    Email: leicestershireandrutland@alzheimers.org.uk

    Additional support can be found at Dementia UK or call their helpline on 0800 888 6678 for support from dementia specialist Admiral Nurses. The helpline is open seven days a week, 9am-9pm Monday to Friday and 9am-5pm at weekends. You can also email helpline@dementiauk.org.

    Alzheimer’s Society have some national information for carers available on their website.

    Find out more about Living with Dementia.

    You can find support for those living with dementia who are part of the BAME community and advice on COVID-19, co-produced by Meri Yaadain, Alzheimer’s Society and BME Health & Wellbeing.

    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 following the links below:

    Creative Isolation (March Network)
    Support for families during Coronavirus (Disabled Children's Network)
    Support during Coronavirus for families with disabled children (Contact)
    Support with challenging behavriour during Coronavirus (Challenging Behaviour Foundation)

    The Lamp Advocacy - Although Lamp support groups have been cancelled for November, they will be running weekly online Zoom groups as an alternative. Call Lamp’s Carers Advocate, Rowena on 0116 255 6286.

    Additional information

    Additional useful advice and information for carers from Carers UK

    Useful information and guidance for people who receive care, have a direct payment or directly employ their carers/PA

    The latest government guidance for unpaid carers

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