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Coronavirus guidance

Last updated: 19 May 2020 9:20

During this time, it's important to know what support is available to you as a carer and those you look after.

If you are worried that you or someone you look after may be at high risk from coronavirus, NHS 111 can offer direct guidance through their online coronavirus helpline. Call 111 if your (or their) symptoms become severe, and let them know you are a carer.

Getting help in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland

  • Scotland: Check your symptoms online
  • Wales: Check your symptoms online.
  • Northern Ireland: Call 111

This page sets out the current government guidance as it relates to carers and offers suggestions for ways to protect yourself and those you care for. 

You can find answers to some common questions on our FAQ page and tips on keeping a positive frame of mind in our Wellbeing Action Plan.

To connect with other carers, you may wish to join one of our wellbeing online chats – find out more here.

For recent updates to the benefits system, see our A-Z of changes to benefits, assessments and support – COVID-19. You may also be interested in reading the joint statement we have issued with Carers Trust.

What is the latest advice for unpaid carers?

The government has recently published (8 April) some specific guidance for carers of friends or family during the coronavirus outbreak. If you are caring for someone who is deemed to be extremely vulnerable, take extra precautionary measures by only providing essential care and ensure you follow the NHS hygiene advice for people at higher risk.

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.

This guidance provides information on matters such as finding alternative care quickly and on what to do if you or the person you care for has symptoms. Read more. If you have symptoms, find out what the process is with regard to being tested on our FAQ page.

The government advise the public to consider wearing face coverings in enclosed public spaces where you may be more likely to come into contact with people you do not normally meet.

In Northern Ireland, specific guidance for unpaid carers can be found on this health-ni-gov.uk page.

In England and Scotland, you can now be prioritised for testing as a recognised key worker if you are an unpaid carer. Anyone over five is also now eligible across the UK. You can find out more about testing on this Gov.uk page.

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. In the first instance, you should contact your local carers centre – use our directory to find your nearest centre.

Click on the links below for further information on:

Protecting who you care for

Making a plan

Working and caring

Staying safe (FAQs)

Managing food and medication (FAQs)

Benefits guidance (FAQs)

Practical guidance (FAQs)

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