Carers Bucks is operating as closely to our normal services as we possibly can at this time. However, in line with the official advice, we have cancelled all support groups, clubs and activities.
All our staff have the ability to work from home which enables us to continue to deliver our Information, Advice and Guidance services via the telephone. We will be continuing to take calls during our normal working hours, Monday to Thursday 9am – 5pm, and Friday 9am – 4.30pm. Please do not hesitate to get in touch: 0300 777 2722.
If you or the person you care for are defined as extremely vulnerable on medical grounds then you should practise ‘social shielding’. Social shielding is more than just social distancing, it means you should not leave your home (even for shopping) and should minimise all non-essential contact with other members of the household. In most cases you will be advised to practise social shielding for 12 weeks. Read more information on the gov.uk website.
If you are worried that you or the person you care for may be at risk, check out the NHS 111 online coronavirus helpline. The NHS will be contacting people who are at particularly high risk of getting seriously ill from Monday 23rd March onwards. If you suspect you or the person you care for fall into this category but haven’t received a letter by Sunday 29th March, you should call your GP or hospital clinician. Read more information on the NHS website.
If you are an extremely vulnerable person, you can also register for support and the government will ensure you get support with things such as deliveries and food supplies. You can register for this on someone else’s behalf. If you are not sure if you are classified as ‘extremely vulnerable’, the advice is to register anyway.
Now is the time to make sure you have an emergency plan in place.
Carers Bucks has information on planning for an emergency which includes our emergency plan template. Once you have completed your emergency plan, print it out and ensure you leave it in a place that is visible and easily accessible to emergency services if they are required to enter your home, e.g. on the fridge.
If you do not have access to a printer, use the template as guidance for information required when writing out your own emergency plan on paper.
The government has asked parents and guardians to keep their children at home, wherever possible, and asked schools to remain open only for those children who absolutely need to attend. By having most children at home, we lower the risk of the virus spreading.
Schools and other childcare providers will continue to provide care for a limited number of children – those who are vulnerable and those whose parents/guardians are key workers. Children classed as vulnerable includes young carers. Read more on who are defined as vulnerable children and key workers. Your schools should also be communicating with you.
Many supermarkets are setting aside priority hours, e.g. the first hour of shopping, for older and vulnerable customers, including carers. Check out the supermarkets priority hours.
You, members of your household and paid carers who come into your house need to remember to follow the advice from the NHS on how to stop the spread of infection.
You can ask your care provider what steps they are taking in terms of infection control.
It is important to ensure that you’re looking after yourself during this time such as eating healthily, getting regular exercise and, when possible, take breaks from your caring role and make time for yourself. Read our advice on looking after yourself.
Public Health England’s One You campaign aims to help people live more healthily and has some great 10 minute home workouts videos which are easy to follow.
From ‘An important update from Martin Tett, Leader of Buckinghamshire Council Council’ on 07/04/20:
It’s now the third week of lockdown and we’re all beginning to adapt to our new routines and finding new ways to get on with our lives. However, these changes can have a more noticeable impact on some people, especially those with existing mental health problems such as anxiety or depression, compulsive disorders or claustrophobia. They might be worried about how coronavirus could affect their life. This might feel difficult or stressful, but there are lots of things they can try that could help their wellbeing. There is plenty of help available if you, or someone you know, is experiencing these feelings. A great place to look for support and advice is the Buckinghamshire Mind website. There’s also information for young people who are worried about coronavirus and want to know how to cope with changes to their lives.
If you become unwell with coronavirus symptoms you should call 111 to get the latest advice and information, and let them know you are a carer. The NHS 111 has an online coronavirus symptom checker.
You may need to let Bucks County Council’s relevant Social Care team know about your situation. See Bucks County Council Information for further advice.
Where you can, follow the advice on self-isolation. Ideally, you need to remove yourself or the person you care for to a different location. If you cannot, self-isolate as much as possible within your home.
Bucks County Council have a new service, the coronavirus community hub. Advisers will let people know of trusted services who can help with things like picking up medication or doing shopping for you.