Coronavirus Advice For Carers

Caring in the time of Coronavirus 

All young people aged 16 to 17 in England are to be offered a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by Monday 23 August 2021 to give them the vital protection provided by the vaccine before returning to school in September.

Children aged 12 to 15 who are clinically vulnerable to Coronavirus or who live with adults who are at increased risk of serious illness from the virus are also being contacted by the NHS and invited for their vaccine by 23 August 2021, ahead of the new school year.

From Monday 16 August 2021, people who are double jabbed or aged under 18 will no longer be legally required to self-isolate if they are identified as a close contact of a positive Coronavirus case.

Double-jabbed individuals and under 18s who are identified as close contacts by NHS Test and Trace will be advised to take a PCR test as soon as possible to check if they have the virus and for variants of concern. People can order a PCR home test online or by calling 119, or going to a test site.

As double-jabbed people identified as close contacts are still at risk of being infected, people are advised to consider other precautions such as wearing a face covering in enclosed spaces, and limit contact with other people, especially with anyone who is clinically extremely vulnerable. They will not be required to self-isolate while they wait for the results of the PCR test.

Anyone who tests positive following the PCR test will still be legally required to self-isolate, irrespective of their vaccination status or age in order to break onward chains of transmission.

As new Government guidance reminds us, Coronavirus will be a feature of our lives for the foreseeable future, so we need to learn to live with it and manage the risk to ourselves and others.  Even though many people have been vaccinated, it is still possible to catch and spread Coronavirus, even if you are fully vaccinated.

Most legal restrictions to control Coronavirus will be lifted at step 4.  For example:

  • You do not need to stay 2 metres apart from people you do not live with. There are also no limits on the number of people you can meet;
  • However, in order to minimise risk at a time of high prevalence, you should limit the close contact you have with those you do not usually live with, and increase close contact gradually. This includes minimising the number, proximity and duration of social contacts;
  • You should meet outdoors where possible and let fresh air into homes or other enclosed spaces;
  • The Government is no longer instructing people to work from home if they can. However, the Government expects and recommends a gradual return over the summer; and
  • The requirement to wear face coverings in law has been lifted. However, the Government expects and recommends that people wear face coverings in crowded areas such as public transport.

It is important that we all use personal judgement to manage our own risk. All of us can play our part by exercising common sense and considering the risks. While no situation is risk-free, there are actions we can take to protect ourselves and others around us.

Around 1 in 3 people with Coronavirus do not have any symptoms. This means they could be spreading the virus without knowing it.  In general, the risk of catching or passing on Coronavirus is higher:

  • in crowded spaces, where there are more people who might be infectious
  • in enclosed indoor spaces where there is limited fresh air

Testing twice a week increases the chances of detecting Coronavirus when a person is infectious, helping to make sure they don’t spread Coronavirus.  Rapid lateral flow testing is available for free to anybody.  You can get tests from pharmacies or online.

The test involves rubbing a long cotton bud (swab) over your tonsils (or where they would have been) and inside your nose.  The tests can give you a result in 30 minutes. They use a device similar to a pregnancy test and do not need to be sent to a lab.

You can do a rapid test at home or at one of these community pharmacies.

If you want to take the tests at home, you can order coronavirus rapid lateral flow tests online.

If you cannot order online, call 119.  Lines are open 7am to 11pm and calls are free.

Anyone in your household can use the tests. You do not need to order one pack for each person.

If you’re ordering for another household, such as the person that you are caring for, you should:

  • do it separately from your household order
  • use their details, including their email address if they have one

If you do tests at home, you’ll need to report your results online or on the phone, by calling the phone number in your test kit’s instructions.

You should report the result every time you use a rapid lateral flow test kit and ideally as soon as possible after you get the result.  You cannot report a result after more than 24 hours.

You can only report one result at a time.

If your lateral flow test result is positive, everyone in the household must self-isolate immediately.

The person who tests positive must get a PCR test to confirm the result (a PCR test is a different type of Coronavirus test).  You can order a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test kit to be sent to your home or book an appointment at a walk-in or drive-through test site on the Government website.

If you develop Coronavirus symptoms, self-isolate immediately and get a PCR test, even if your symptoms are mild. You should self-isolate at home while you book the test and wait for the results. You must self-isolate if you test positive. Your isolation period includes the day your symptoms started (or the day your test was taken if you do not have symptoms), and the next 10 full days. This is the law.

You must also self-isolate if you are told to do so by NHS Test and Trace, for example if you have come into contact with someone who has tested positive. This remains the law, regardless of your vaccination status.

All adults in England have now been offered at least one dose of a Coronavirus vaccine. This gives you the best protection against Coronavirus.  If you have not yet had your vaccination you can:

  • book your Coronavirus vaccination appointments online for a vaccination centre or pharmacy;
  • find a walk-in Coronavirus vaccination site to get vaccinated without needing an appointment
  • wait to be contacted by your GP surgery and book your appointments with them

You’ll need to book a 2nd dose for 8 to 12 weeks after your 1st dose.

  • If you book online, you’ll be asked to book appointments for both doses. You can manage your Coronavirus vaccination appointments to view your appointments and rebook if you need to;
  • If you have your 1st dose at a walk-in vaccination site, you can book your 2nd Coronavirus vaccination appointment online. You’ll need to wait 24 hours after your 1st dose before you can book or
  • If you have your 1st dose through your GP surgery, you’ll be contacted when it’s time to book your 2nd dose.

If you cannot book appointments online, you can call 119 free of charge. You can speak to a translator if you need to.

However, even if you have been fully vaccinated, you could still get Coronavirus and get sick – a recent Public Health England report shows that around 1 in 5 people who are double-vaccinated are still vulnerable to getting infected with the Delta variant and showing symptoms. You can also still spread Coronavirus to others.

We all need to do what we can to reduce the spread of Coronavirus to protect others and to reduce the risk of new variants developing and spreading.

This advice will help us protect our friends, families, and communities, including those who have been vaccinated.

Clinically extremely vulnerable people are advised to follow the same guidance as everyone else.

As someone who is at a higher risk of becoming seriously ill if you were to catch Coronavirus, you may wish to think particularly carefully about precautions you can continue to take.

If you are worried about going back to a more ‘normal’ life, there is information from the NHS on how to cope with anxiety about lockdown lifting.

The care home visiting guidance has relaxed too:

  • every care home resident can have ‘named visitors’ who will be able to enter the care home for regular visits. There is no limit on the number of ‘named visitors’ that a single resident can have and no nationally set limit on the number who can visit in a single day; and
  • every care home resident can choose to nominate an essential care giver who may visit the home to attend to essential care needs. The essential care giver should be enabled to visit in all circumstances, including if the care home is in outbreak (but not if the essential caregiver or resident have Coronavirus).

There is different guidance for supported living and extra care settings.

Useful Support for Carers

Carers Card

We launched our Carer’s Card at the end of last year as part of Forward Carers mission to create Carer Friendly Brum. We want to raise the profile of Carers so that you are recognised and valued in the community. This photo ID card is a visible sign that you are a Carer and includes emergency contact information reassuring you that in the event of an accident, the person you care for will receive the help they need.
We have seen a surge in applications from Carers requesting a Carers Card during the Covid-19 outbreak due to the identity checks being made in the community. We’ve received feedback that the card has been shown to the police to verify a Carer’s identity and validate their journey to collect essential provisions. To apply for a Carers Card, ensure that you are registered with Birmingham Carers Hub and complete the Carer’s Card application form here.


Supermarkets Caring for Carers

We have some great news to share with you. Forward Carers has worked with Birmingham City Council’s Commissioning and Resilience teams to implement dedicated supermarket shopping hours for Carers across Birmingham. A number of supermarkets in specific areas of the city are now welcoming Carers as part of the vulnerable access hours. Our Carer’s Card can be used for ID, or you can show proof of Carer’s Allowance or a formal letter from the NHS, Birmingham City Council or Birmingham Carers Hub. The full list of supermarkets, locations and shopping times are available here. Please note, that participating supermarkets are only in certain areas, not every ASDA, Tesco etc is taking part, so please check before you go.

The Active Wellbeing Society (TAWS Service)

The Active Wellbeing Society (TAWS) is jointly working with partner organisations across the city to support those most in need during the Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak. TAWS will distribute food to those who need it most (individuals and community groups) and provide comfort and support to people who are self-isolating through phone calls and other virtual options. If your organisation is interested in supporting or working with TAWS call 0121 728 7030, email support@theaws.org or message them on  FacebookInstagram or Twitter. If you live in Birmingham and you are self-isolating and need support call 0121 728 7030 during office hours. If you live in Solihull or Sandwell, click here.

If you are self-isolating with coronavirus symptoms and over the age of 65, contact As-suffa Outreach Foodbank to arrange a local pack delivery, you can contact them on 0121 285 2777/07835487124, info@as-suffa.org

The consequences of Covid-19 mean we should take opportunities to widen our networks and make the most of local online groups such as Nextdoor, joining in with Midland Mencap’s online activities or sharing a virtual cuppa with other carers. Opportunities to volunteer are also increasing at this time with Covid-19 mutual aid groups in Birmingham springing up. If you would like to volunteer or need help locally, contact your nearest mutual aid group.


Telebuddy Service

If going online is not your thing and you would like a proper chat, Ageing Better Tyburn operates a Telebuddy Service which is a telephone buddying scheme for older carers. To link up with like-minded people who are self-isolating

email: Leonie.Hammond@compass-support.org.uk

sarah.powers@compass-support.org.uk

or call Leonie on 0774 116 4704

Sarah – 0774 116 4704


Looking for something to do during Lockdown?

How about doing some free carer online training? This can be to help you with your caring role or to improve your prospects if you are looking to work in the future. The training courses are available to Carers in Birmingham and Solihull, aged 19 and over who are unemployed or earn under £17,000 pa. The courses can be completed between 4 and 12 weeks depending on how much time you have available to study. To find out more or to sign up, click here.

Information and advice for parents/carers of children with SEND

These are unprecedented times for all of us but is even more of a challenge if you are caring for a child/ren with Special Education Needs and Disabilities who are now being home schooled (with the exception of a small number of children). Where necessary, carers, therapists or clinicians can visit children at home to provide any essential services.

Birmingham City Council reviews this situation daily and wants to resume all services as soon as possible.The Council’s team are working closely with schools and families to provide their services in a different way to support you and your child/ren. For online support, read these Frequently Asked Questions, and visit these useful websites and links. You might find these top tips for you and your family helpful too.


Birmingham City Council’s SEND Parent Link Contact Line is available for you

to call from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday on 0121 303 8461 whether you want tips on managing educational activities or just a friendly chat. You can find details of how you can get in touch with their support services on the Contact Us page.

The government has also made clear that while most people should exercise only once a day, close to home, those with health needs or disabilities can continue to exercise more than once and outside of their local area if they need to.

You can find out the latest information, support and advice about Coronavirus and its impact on families with disabled children on Contact for Families with Disabled Children’s Covid-19 (coronavirus) webpages, alongside fun activities to keep children occupied.

Tackling Fraud in Birmingham

Recently, we have all witnessed lots of examples of goodwill with individuals and businesses going the extra mile but inevitably there are those who have used the coronavirus outbreak to exploit others for their own financial gain. Here is a warning issued by the West Midlands Police; and other information about the latest scams.


Government clarifies furlough rules

New guidance issued by the government indicates that some parent-carer employees who are unable to work due to caring responsibilities can be furloughed by their employer. The revised guidance is available at the gov.uk website.


Carer’s Allowance during the Coronavirus outbreak

The government has changed the Carer’s Allowance rules during the Coronavirus outbreak. During the Coronavirus outbreak the government has said that a break in caring can be ignored if it is caused by either the disabled person or their Carer having Coronavirus symptoms. 


Free Money Advice

Birmingham Settlement can be contacted on 0121 250 0765 or via email moneyadvice@bsettlement.org.uk for debt and benefit advice, including:

  • Benefits entitlement
  • SSP (Statutory Sick Pay)
  • Universal Credit
  • Council tax
  • Rent arrears
  • Mortgage arrears
  • Utilities advice—gas, electric, water
  • Hardship grants
  • General debt advice

Pre-Payment Meters

If you or the person you care for are self-isolating and you use pre-payment meters, here’s how to ensure you will have enough electricity. You can phone your energy company, tell them you are self-isolating, and they will send you two weeks’ worth of gas and/or electricity.

British Gas: 0333 202 9802
EDF: 0333 200 5100
EON: 0345 303 3040
N Power: 0800 073 3000
Scottish Power: 0800 027 0072
SSE: 0345 026 2658

We have launched Letters For Loved Ones. This service enables Carers or relatives of inpatients to email lettersforlovedones@uhb.nhs.uk with a message, letter or picture. This is then printed and delivered to the patient on the ward. If they are unable to read it themselves staff will read it to them. This has been very popular so far.

  • We also have Postcards Home – we provide a postcard and pen so patients can keep in touch with their relative/carer by sending them a note which we will post for them.
  •  We have also introduced IPADS, tablets, mobile phones, chargers etc to aid communication with carers/relatives so patients can keep in touch themselves where possible
  • We have moved to a virtual service during the current coronavirus situation (and suspension of visiting on all sites), we are supporting carers by telephone and email.
  • We have set up a Family Liaison Hub so that we can provide routine daily updates to carers/relatives of inpatients.

If you have any queries or concerns and wish to discuss this with the advice and liaison service, please call 0800 917 2855 or email contact.bchc@nhs.net. To find out more and to access hospital phone numbers, click here.

To help stop the spread of Coronavirus, most hospitals have stopped or significantly limited visits.

Check the specific hospital website to find out what their advice is – the advice below was correct on Tuesday 21st April 2020:

Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Good Hope Hospital, Heartlands Hospital – Visits from all friends and relatives of patients are currently suspended on all our hospital sites, except in the following circumstances:

· A parent or guardian visiting their child;

· A parent or guardian accompanying a child to any clinically necessary consultations that may still be taking place;

· Birthing partners – during labour/birth only (no visitors allowed on the postnatal or antenatal wards or during appointments);

· Visitors to patients in a critical condition who may be at the end of their life ‐ in these difficult and upsetting circumstances, the ward will contact the patient’s next of kin and we will try our best to accommodate them wherever possible; or

· Advocates/visitors who are required to make decisions on behalf of patients who do not have the capacity to make decisions for themselves.

On arrival to any ward or department, any of the acceptable visitors stated above should immediately wash their hands and report to a senior sister or charge nurse. Visitors must also wash their hands or use the hand gel when they leave wards

Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospital (City Hospital) – there will be no general visiting on any of our wards or departments except for parents of children, birthing partners, patients at end of life, and those who are unable to make decisions for themselves (in line with the mental capacity act regulations).

In these cases the immediate next of kin will be able to visit and be with their relative.

In order to help patients keep in contact with their relatives, we have put in place equipment so that telephone and video calls can be made. This is available on every ward.

West Heath Hospital and Moseley Hall Hospital – Along with other NHS providers, please note that we have taken the decision to restrict visitors attending inpatient facilities until further notice.

Birmingham Community Healthcare Trust regret that they are not able to accept any visitors to inpatient areas with the exception of end-of-life care, where one named visitor may be agreed, following discussion with the ward manager.

Nightingale Hospital Birmingham – Due to the priority of delivering care, and the highly infectious nature of Coronavirus, visiting patients at Nightingale Hospital Birmingham, will only be allowed in exceptional circumstances.

We understand that this is an extremely difficult, worrying and emotional time, but to ensure the safety of you and your loved ones, this decision has been taken to limit further spread of the virus.

Patient advocates, and individuals required to make decisions on behalf of patients without capacity, should discuss care by telephone.

If you unfortunately suffer a bereavement in the coming weeks, then you will need to be aware that there are some new procedures to follow.  The following information is for registrations in Birmingham. Slightly different arrangements may be in place in Solihull, Sandwell, Walsall, Wolverhampton or Dudley, so please check.

Anybody seeking an urgent registration on religious grounds should speak to their Funeral Director, who will be able to email the Register Office directly and prioritise the request by marking the email ‘Urgent Religious Burial’.

Important contact details for the Registration Service

Email: RORegistrations@birmingham.gov.uk
Phone: 0121 303 1399

For details of changes to registration and bereavement services, due to COVID-19, visit: www.birmingham.gov.uk/news/article/570/update_to_registration_and_bereavement_services

Under Coronavirus emergency legislation, Birmingham now allows deaths to be reported electronically and through specified nominated persons, rather than the next of kin.

All medical cause of death certificates must be completed, signed and scanned to the bereavement office by the hospital or GP. Once the Register Office has received this, the person registering the death must use an online form to confirm their contact details. They will then be contacted by telephone to complete the registration as soon as is possible.

Ordering a copy of a death certificate
 You cannot apply for Death Certificates until after you have had a telephone call from a Registrar, and the Death has been registered.

For up to date information visit: https://www.birmingham.gov.uk/info/50038/certificates/746/order_a_copy_of_a_death_certificate

Funerals and filming attendance
For this emergency period and in line with the Government’s requirements for social distancing, attendance at all funerals (burials and cremations) will be reduced to six people, consisting of the immediate family only.

Services will be for a maximum of 30 minutes and you should talk to your funeral director who will be able to assist with the rules about social distancing.

No person diagnosed as suffering from Coronavirus is permitted to attend a funeral (burials and cremations).

Birmingham City Council welcomes the filming and webcasting (using applications like Facebook Live) of burials, but this needs to be undertaken by prior arrangement through your funeral director.

Access to all cemeteries and crematoria
All cemeteries and crematoria in Birmingham are closed to the public.  Cemeteries will be opened for the duration of the Service.

Burial of cremated remains and scattering of ashes
There will be no further bookings for the burial of cremated remains or the scattering of ashes.

Charges for the retention of cremated remains at the crematoria will not be applied during this period.

Cemeteries and crematoria
Birmingham cemetery and crematorium grounds are currently operating restricted opening hours for visitors. The majority are opening between 4.30 and 6.30pm but please check the individual site for more details.  https://www.birmingham.gov.uk/cemeteries

 

Coping with losing someone you love is extremely difficult but this is compounded when this happens during a time of isolation and families cannot gather to console each other. If you would like support, you would like support, you can refer yourself to the leading national charity, Cruse Bereavement Care

To refer yourself to Cruse services you can :

–          Call 0121 687 8010– this currently is an answer machine facility, therefore a team member will call back, provide guidance and support and explain their services to you.

–          Email- support@crusebirmingham.co.uk

–          We have a National Helpline – 0808 808 1677

–          National and local websites with information – www.cruse.org.uk or www.crusebirmingham.co.uk

Cruse also offers a wide range of resources people can access by clicking the links

 

 

If a volunteer is helping you while you stay at home, here on some tips on how to stay safe:

  • do not give them your credit or debit card numbers or other financial information
  • ask for ID if someone you do not know calls at your home
  • only share your phone number or address if you need to
  • only give your information on a need-to-know basis
  • do not let them pressure you into giving information
  • remember that volunteers should not enter your home.

If you have serious concerns about the behaviour of someone who is helping you, report this to the police.