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COVID Restrictions: Frequently Asked Questions for carers in Wales

Wales will begin lifting some of the COVID-19 restrictions in a meaningful way from the 13/03/2021.

This page answers some of the frequently asked questions that unpaid carers need to know and what they can and cannot do during this latest period. This page will be updated for the 15/03/2021. Please see the Welsh Government website for more information on the changes made on the 12/03/2021.

Written: 21/12/20 - Last Updated: 12/03/21


Am I eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Yes, some unpaid carers are eligible to receive the vaccine now.

You can find more out about the vaccine here: https://www.carersuk.org/wales/help-and-advice/covid-19-vaccine-in-wales

What can I do as a carer during Alert Level 4?

As a carer, you may continue to do everything you need to continue supporting the person you care for that can not be delayed while Alert Level 4 is ongoing.

This includes (but not exclusively):

  • Food shopping
  • Cooking
  • Cleaning
  • Collecting medication
  • Giving medication
  • Taking people to medical appointments
  • Providing support for exercise
  • Providing mental or physical support

Can I go into the home of the person I care for during Alert Level 4 lockdown?

Yes, you may continue to enter the home of the person you care for during Alert Level 4 lockdown if that person cannot support themselves without your direct assistance.

However, you must consider the risk for yourselves and the person you care for when doing so. Minimising the number of people who enter a vulnerable person’s home is advised.

The choice to continue caring for someone in their own home is a judgement call that needs to be agreed between the carer and the person being cared for when that is possible.


What do I need to do to protect the person I care for?

Whether the person you care for lives with you or lives in a different home, there are some sensible steps you can take.

These include:

  • Keeping contacts to a minimum. Use technology to stay in contact with family, friends or neighbours.
  • Staying 2 metres or 3 steps away from people you do not live with.
  • Washing your hands regularly with soap and water for 20 seconds each time, or use hand sanitiser if hand washing facilities are not available.
  • Avoiding touching your face and wear a face-covering where required.
  • Keeping your home well ventilated.
  • Cleaning surfaces regularly and avoid touching surfaces others have touched.

We have a deeper look into keeping your loved ones safe here


Where can I get Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)?

If you need Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to continue your caring role, please contact your local council who may be able to provide you with PPE.

If not, they will be the primary contact point to who can provide you with PPE in your local area.


Can I see the person I care for if I’m worried about their mental health?

Yes, you can see the person you care for if you are concerned about their mental health on compassionate grounds.

This includes:

  • Anyone who is struggling with the Alert Level 4 lockdown (especially those who have difficulties comprehending the situation such as people with dementia or learning difficulties).
  • Anyone with pre-existing mental health conditions where you are concerned their condition is worsening due to lockdown.
  • Anyone who has suffered a bereavement.
  • Anyone whose general mental health and well-being you are concerned for.

The choice of whether to see someone in person rather than through phone or online chat is a decision to be made by the carer. You will need to decide whether the risk of giving your loved one the infection is bigger or smaller than supporting their mental health.


I have symptoms or I have been told to self-isolate. Can I continue to care for someone outside my home?

No, you must self-isolate.

If the person you care for will need emergency support due to your self-isolation, contact their council and explain the situation. Emergency care from the council should be put in place.


Shielding has been reintroduced in Wales. What does that mean for the person I care for?

Shielding is the action of staying at home and having as little contact with the outside world as possible. This means not going to work or school and arranging for key supplies like food and medication to be delivered. People who are on the shielding list should continue to exercise outside when it is safe to do so.

Only those deemed 'extremely vulnerable' under the terms of the Welsh Government need to shield. The full list is here. People on the shielding list should have received letters before from the Chief Medical Officer for Wales during the last period of shielding.

People who are on the 'extremely vulnerable' list will receive a letter from the Chief Medical Officer for Wales with further information in the next few days. When this letter is publically available, it will be linked here.

If the person you care for is not on the 'extremely vulnerable' list, they do not need to shield. 


One person in my household needs to shield. Should the rest of the family also shield?

No, only the person or persons on the 'extremely vulnerable list' in your home need to shield.

Other family members should continue to go to school or work as normal under Alert Level 4 restrictions 


I think the person I care for should be considered 'extremely vulnerable' but has not received a letter before. What can I do?

Only those categorised under the Welsh Government's list of 'extremely vulnerable' are advised to shield. You can find the full list here.

If you believe that the person you care for needs to be on this list, you will need to speak to the doctor or medical team who are in charge of the person you care for's medical need. The doctor or medical team will be able to advise you if the person you care for does need to shield and, if they do, have the person you care for added to the official shielding list.


What assistance is available for someone who is shielding?

Supermarkets have priority slots for people who are shielding to have food delivered. 

Your local community pharmacy should also have the ability to deliver medication to those who are shielding. This is no longer under the National Prescription Delivery scheme which ended in September so you, or the person you care for, will need to contact the pharmacy directly for more information.


The person I care for needs to shield but cannot work from home. What are their options?

If the person you care for cannot continue to work due to the need to shield, they need to speak to their employer.

Employers have been urged to create alternative arrangements for people who need to shield.

If they cannot be accommodated to work from home, they may be able to be put back onto the job retention scheme. This will run until April 2021.

If this is also an option, all people with a shielding letter can go onto Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). Click here for more information on SSP


I cannot go to work as the person I care for needs to shield. What are my options?

Currently, there is not any specific guidance or assistance for carers who have cannot work due to their caring role and shielding.

If you cannot go to work as the person you care for is shielding and this has increased your caring responsibilities, you need to speak to your place of work.

If you can work alternative or reduced hours, see if your employer is open to this option.

Your employer may also be able to put you on the job retention scheme which is available until April 2021 


What happens if there is a medical emergency?

Call 999 as normal.

The emergency services are still operating as normal.

However, depending on the circumstances at your hospital, the person with an emergency may be diverted to a hospital further away. The ambulance medics should be able to tell you which hospital they will be taken to.

You may or may not be able to travel with the person to hospital. This will depend on the circumstances. Please follow the instructions of the ambulance medics if this situation happens.

You will not be able to visit the person when in hospital unless on compassionate grounds.


I, or the person I care for, has a medical appointment. Will this still happen?

Some medical appointments in hospitals have been cancelled due to the ongoing situation.

You should be contacted by the relevant department to tell you this and a rearranged date should arrive in the post shortly after.

Recommendation: Please contact all medical appointments before attending if you have not heard from the relevant department

You can see the current status of your local health board here: https://gov.wales/nhs-wales-health-boards-and-trusts

Appointments with the doctor or hospital departments may still continue, however, the majority of these appointments will happen on the phone or through video. Please contact your doctors to check before travelling.


The person I care for will need support in the medical appointment. Can I do this?

Whether you can be in the appointment with the person you care for will depend on the situation and the individual medical department's instructions.

If the person needs mobility support to attend the appointment, you may be asked to do this. Alternatively, you may be asked to leave and the person's mobility needs supported by the medical team and you will be asked back to collect the person you care for when they are finished. This should be discussed before the appointment so both you and the person you care for, know what to expect.

If the person needs help and support to communicate, this should be discussed before the appointment. The medical team in question will be able to go through their process for supporting you and the person you care for. You may be offered alternative appointments via the phone or through online video calling.

You need to discuss appointments with relevant medical departments whether the person lives in your own home or lives in a different home.


I need a taxi to get my loved one to a medical appointment. Will these still be operating?

Yes, taxis will continue to run during Alert Level 4 lockdown.

You must wear a mask at all times when in a taxi.


I or my loved one has a medical appointment in England. Can I/we still attend?

Yes, you may still attend medical appointments in England.

Please contact the relevant medical team before you travel. The appointment may have to be rearranged or offered via phone or video instead.

Please take the appointment letter with you as evidence for why you are travelling.


A care worker supports my loved one, will this continue?

Yes, all arranged care from local authorities should continue as normal under Alert Level 4 lockdown.

If changes need to be made, your care team or local council should contact you before this happens and reasonable support must be kept in place.

If you have any concerns, please contact your care team or local council to discuss with them.


A care worker supports my loved one by taking them out, will this continue?

No, this service will be unlikely to continue.

Everyone may only leave their home for essential journeys, therefore any journeys that are non-essential will stop.

If you are concerned that the person you care for will be unable to exercise or it will worsen their mental health due to not being able to leave their home and you are unable to support them, please contact your care team or local council to discuss options.


Can I take the person I care for to have exercise?

Yes, you can join the person you care for to exercise whether they live in your home or live elsewhere.

When at all possible, all exercise should start at your front door and end at your front door.

If you are caring for someone at their home, it should start at their front door and end at their front door.

If the person you care for cannot safely exercise or access exercise from your or their front door, you should drive to the nearest safe place for them to do this. You should not drive an unnecessary distance to exercise.

When exercising, consider if the person you care for can safely socially distance. If the person you care for cannot safely socially distance due to an inability to understand social distancing, this is a reasonable reason to drive somewhere so they can safely exercise.

You cannot do anything outside that is not considered exercise (like have a picnic) when exercising but you can allow a child or children to use play equipment.

If your caring role involves leaving an Alert Level 4 area (for instance, going to a lower Tier in England as all of Wales is currently in Alert Level 4), you may not join them for exercise as you must isolate.


Can I meet other people outside for support?

You are able to exercise with one person from another household. You can not stop to do anything else other than exercise.

If the person you care for cannot exercise on their own, they do not count towards the two person limit.

You cannot meet with anyone inside or outside for non-exercise reasons unless on compassionate grounds.


What is a support bubble and can I be in one?

Important update 29/12/20

A support bubble under Alert Level 4 restrictions is only available for a single adult or a household where there is only one adult over the age of 18 who is responsible within the household.

This means if:

  • a person lives alone;
  • a person is the only adult over 18 who does not require care in the house;
  • a person is the only one over 18 in the house;
  • a person is the only adult who does not require care in the house and all the children are under 18.

They can form a support bubble under Alert Level 4 restrictions.

If this describes you, or the person you care for, you may form a support bubble with them.

When in a support bubble, you are considered one household and may continue to interact with them as if you are lived in the same home.

This must be an exclusive agreement with each side not forming a social bubble with anyone else.

You may switch your bubble agreement to a new household. You must isolate for 10 days from the last time you saw your previous bubble before meeting up with your new bubble.

There is no geographic limitation on who you can form a support bubble with but it is recommended that the shortest possible distance is considered.

You cannot form a support bubble if there are two or more adults who do not require care in the house including children over 18.

If you, and the person you care for live in households with more than one adult, you cannot form a support bubble. However, if the person or persons in that household require care, you may still enter the household as described under 'Can I go into the home of the person I care for during Alert Level 4 lockdown?' at the top of this page


Can I see the person I care for if they are in a care home?

Important update 29/12/20

One person can visit someone in a care home if:

  • There is an indoor space available where a room can be divided and no air can travel between one side of the room and the other (including two doors of entry)
  • If there is an outside space where two meters distance can be safely enforced with no risk to other residents

When organising this with the care home, one person is to be designated as the primary visitor. One additional person can be designated as a standby if the primary visitor can not attend. This is not designed so that the two roles can be easily interchanged. These roles will be in place for the duration the Alert Level 4 lockdown.

Care homes have the ability to limit or stop visits on safety grounds.

Care home visits must be organised before attendance.

You are not required to take a Covid-19 test before visiting someone in a care home outside. You may be asked to wear PPE for visits.

If you are concerned about the person’s welfare or there is an exceptional circumstance (for instance, an end of life visit) this is permitted with the agreement of the care home. This is considered to be separate from general visiting rules.

Contact the care home directly to find out the process for that facility.

For the full rules on care home visits, please click here.


Can I see a person living in a supported living facility?

You may be able to form a support bubble with a person who is living within a supported living facility.

They must be a single adult or the only person over 18 in their family. They must also have a separate tenancy agreement from the other people who live within their home.

You will not be able to do this if their home is a care home or there is more than one adult over 18 on the tenancy agreement.

Please contact the supported living facility where your loved one lives to explore this option. Each facility has its own rules and restrictions to support the people living there and the staff who support them. This may affect your ability to form a support bubble.

Please consider the risk factors for this person and yourself when making the decision to form a support bubble. Especially if they share a bathroom or kitchen with other people living at the facility as this increases the risk.


England is in lockdown. Can I continue to care for someone in England if I live in Wales?

Yes, you can continue to go into England to provide care for a loved one under essential travel rules.

However, you must consider the risk for yourselves and the person you care for when doing so. Minimising the number of people who enter a vulnerable person’s home is advised.

The choice to continue caring for someone in their own home is a judgement call that needs to be agreed between the carer and the person being cared for when that is possible.


What is the difference between Alert Level 4 in Wales and 'Lockdown' in England?

Covid-19 (Coronavirus) restrictions are devolved to the Welsh Government.

In Wales, there is an Alert Level system between 1 and 4. In England, there is a Tier Level system between 1 and 4 and then a final 'lockdown' level. Alert Level 4 in Wales is the equiviiant of 'lockdown' in England.

It should be taken into consideration that there are small but significant differences between the Welsh and English system. 

For more information on the England Lockdown rules, please see the Carers UK website


Other Information and Support

Carers UK has a Coronavirus (Covid-19) hub with the rules for the rest of the UK and lots of hints and tips.

Click here to go to the Coronavirus (Covid-19) hub


For the latest general information on the Alert Level 4 restrictions in Wales, please go to the Welsh Government website

For information and support in your local area, please contact your council. Click here for a link to all of the council websites

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