Coronavirus and Pulmonary Hypertension Coronavirus Advice Hub

Carers & coronavirus

Reviewed 23rd October 2020 at 10.35am

We know this is a worrying time for carers as well as those living with PH.

The below information has been taken directly from the Carers UK website

What is the latest advice for unpaid carers?

If you are caring for someone who is deemed to be extremely vulnerable, take extra precautionary measures if providing essential care and ensure you follow the NHS hygiene advice for people at higher risk (or NHS Inform in Scotland).

You must self-isolate and follow this guidance if you or the person you care for has symptoms. In certain areas of the UK, local lockdowns have come into effect, meaning that there are some tighter restrictions and rules you need to follow if based in these areas. Find out if the advice on staying safe has changed in your area?: EnglandWalesScotland or Northern Ireland.

As long as you take every precaution, you are allowed to continue visiting someone who relies on you for care – see below for more information.

What are the latest Covid rules and guidelines on shielding? Find out here.

If you are providing essential care

Wherever possible, we are all advised to strictly follow the social distancing rules, which differ according to where you are in the UK so check your area. However, it may be necessary for you to be in close contact with someone who relies on you for care. Ensure you continue taking careful measures such as wearing a face covering, frequent hand-washing and cleaning, whilst minimising contact where possible.

If you are providing essential care, it is vital to stop and self-isolate if you start having symptoms of COVID-19 – these include a loss of smell and taste or the more commonly known symptoms of a persistent cough or fever.

If you are notified that you have been in contact with a person who has tested positive for coronavirus by the NHS Test and Trace system (or ‘Test and Protect’ in Scotland): 

To find out what to do if you or someone you care for has symptoms, follow this NHS guidance / NHS Inform (in Scotland). For more details on arranging alternative care, see our guidance on making a plan.

Those who live alone or in a single adult household may benefit from a ‘support bubble’/ ‘extended household’. You can find out whether this applies to you or someone you care for here.

What if I’m affected by a ‘circuit-breaker’ lockdown?

If you live in Wales or Northern Ireland, you may be facing a ‘circuit-breaker’ lockdown – this means that there are tighter restrictions to follow across the whole country again, designed to curb the rise in cases of the virus. Unlike the UK-wide lockdown of March, this will be for a much shorter period of time than before.

In Northern Ireland, the lockdown will be for four weeks (from 16 October) – read more about what this involves. In Wales, it will be imposed from Friday 23 October for about two weeks until 9 November – read more about the latest restrictions in Wales and key questions for carers.

Getting tested

No matter where you are based in the UK, 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 – see this NHS page for more details. In England and Scotland, you can also be prioritised for testing as a recognised key worker if you are an unpaid carer.

What other protective measures can you take?

Contact tracing

You can now download a free official app to protect you and your loved ones and be prepared in your area. In England and Wales, this is the NHS COVID-19 app. While in Scotland, this is called Protect Scot.

In Northern Ireland, the new test and trace app can be found here

Face coverings

Across the UK, use of face coverings is now compulsory in many public places, such as in shops and on public transport. Additionally, you must wear a mask if you are visiting someone in a hospital or care home or attending an appointment.

For more information, see  ‘What’s the latest guidance on face coverings?’

What happens if you can’t wear a face covering?

Exemptions for the use of face coverings do apply – for example if you have certain health conditions or disabilities, where wearing one causes problems. There are exemption cards available to help, such as those found via the link on this page: www.civicmc.nhs.uk/noval-coronavirus/facial-coverings-and-exemption-cards/ and on the Gov.uk site here. They are also available to order from the Hidden Disabilities website here.

See this page for more guidance on when to wear a face covering. 

Getting further support

Carers in Scotland can request personal protective equipment (PPE) to support their caring role. The Scottish Government has provided guidance for carers on what PPE is needed and when. To access PPE, in the first instance, you should contact your local carers centre – use our directory to find your nearest centre. See this video for guidance on how to wear PPE.

In Wales, you can follow the latest guidance on PPE here. Contact your local authority for more details on how to obtain this. Find your closest local authority.

In Northern Ireland, specific guidance for unpaid carers can be found on this health-ni-gov.uk page. A new ID card has been launched to support carers – find out more here

Click on the links below for further information on:

Protecting who you care for

Making a plan

Working and caring

Protecting your mental wellbeing

Keeping active and well

Staying safe (FAQs)

Managing food and medication (FAQs)

Benefits guidance (FAQs)

Practical guidance (FAQs)

Last medically reviewed: October, 2020 • Due for review: October, 2023