Covid-19 Advice for Carers
Birmingham Carers Hub is available on our main telephone contact number: 0333 006 9711 operational between the times of 9.30am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday to support you in your caring role. You can also email our advisors: email@example.com
We have recently produced a What IF plan and a What IF plan template. It’s a simple guide which may help families plan and record useful information for emergency situations that may arise, meaning you are unable to provide care. Take a look – it could be a way giving you a little extra peace of mind at this time.
This is an increasingly difficult time for the whole community but the challenges facing those caring for a loved one, are ten-fold. We’re in daily contact with our partner agencies including local authorities and NHS staff. We all recognise and appreciate the critical role you undertake every minute of every day and we are working together to keep you fully supported and safe.
Caring in the time of Coronavirus
Self-isolation is essential to reducing the spread of COVID as it breaks the chains of transmission. As of Monday 14th December, the number of days required for self-isolation has been reduced from 14 days to 10 days.
Therefore, anyone who now tests positive should continue to self-isolate for 10 days from onset of symptoms or 10 days from point of taking a positive test if asymptomatic.
On Monday 4th January 2021, the Prime Minister announced a further national lockdown. We should stay at home.
This means that we must not leave or be outside of your home or garden except when we have a ‘reasonable excuse’. A reasonable excuse includes:
- providing care for vulnerable people, to visit people in your support bubble, or to provide informal childcare for children aged 13 and under as part of a childcare bubble, to provide emergency assistance, attend a support group (of up to 15 people), or for respite care where that care is being provided to a vulnerable person or a person with a disability, or is a short break in respect of a looked after child;
- Work and volunteering;
- buying things at shops or obtain services from a business which is permitted to open; we may also leave our home to do these things on behalf of a disabled or vulnerable person or someone self-isolating.
- Fulfilling legal obligations;
- Education and childcare;
- Exercise and recreation;
- Medical reasons, avoidance of harm and compassionate visits;
- Communal worship and life events;
- Avoiding harm and compassionate visits; and
- Animal welfare
Remember, we cannot meet socially indoors with family or friends unless they are part of our household or support bubble.
We can exercise in a public outdoor place with people we live with, our support bubble (or as part of a childcare bubble), or with one other person. Exercise should be limited to once per day, and we should not travel outside our local area.
Please remember that children under 5, and a carer for a person with a disability who needs continuous care are not counted towards the outdoors gatherings limit when exercising or visiting a public outdoor place.
A “support bubble” is a support network which links 2 households. You have to meet certain criteria to form a support bubble.
Once you’re in a support bubble, you can think of yourself as being in one ‘household’. This means you do not need to maintain social distance with people in your support bubble.
From 2nd December, the rules changed to widen eligibility for forming a support bubble. You can now form a “support bubble” with another household of any size if:
- you live by yourself – even if carers visit you to provide support;
- you are the only adult in your household who does not need continuous care as a result of a disability;
- your household includes a child who is under the age of one or was under that age on 2nd December 2020;
- your household includes a child with a disability who requires continuous care and is under the age of 5, or was under that age on 2nd December 2020;
- you are a child aged 16 or over living alone or with other children and without any adults; or
- you are a single adult living with one or more children who are under the age of 18 or were under that age on 12th June 2020
You should not form a support bubble with a household that is already part of another support bubble.
It is against the law to form a support bubble if you do not follow these rules.
A “childcare bubble” is where one household links with one other household to provide informal childcare to a child or children under 14. All adults in both households must agree to this arrangement. ‘Informal’ childcare means it is unpaid and unregistered.
Members of either household can provide childcare in a home or public place. This includes overnight care.
You can only have one “childcare bubble” with one other household. This means no household should be part of more than one “childcare bubble”.
“Childcare bubbles” are different from “support bubbles”.
If you’re eligible to form a childcare bubble and eligible to form a support bubble, you can form one childcare bubble and one support bubble with different households. You must not meet socially with your childcare bubble and avoid seeing members of your childcare and support bubbles at the same time.
Another exemption for carers is travelling. As a rule, we should stay at home, or at least stay local. However, if you need to travel further afield to undertake caring duties, this should be seen as a ‘reasonable excuse’.
Another change since 20th December 2020 is that there is an exemption to allow carers to access respite from family and friends where this is reasonably necessary for the continued provision of care to a vulnerable or disabled person or someone with an underlying health condition.
This means that during the current restrictions you can arrange with family or friends for someone else to provide the care you normally provide to the person you care for, to enable you to take a break. This includes someone coming into the home of the person you care for, which can be overnight. It also means the person you care for can go to someone else’s home to receive care to give you a break from caring, which can also be overnight. In all these examples, the arrangement must be reasonably necessary for the purpose of respite care being provided for the person being cared for.
The number of adults in either household does not matter when making arrangements for respite care, provided the arrangements are reasonably necessary and amount to respite care provided to the person being cared for. What is suitable for you, the person you care for and the person providing the alternative care will depend on your own circumstances.
Although accommodation venues such as hotels are closed, they can open to allow for a carer of a vulnerable or disabled person to have respite where necessary.
Why not register for a Carers’ Card to show that you have caring responsibilities.
The guidance now says that visits to care homes can take place with arrangements such as substantial screens, visiting pods, or behind windows. Close-contact indoor visits are not allowed.