Coronavirus Information and Advice

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 face-to-face support groups, clubs and activities and are delivering some services via Zoom. Take a look at how we have updated our Adult Carers service, Young Carers & Young Adult Carers service and Caring for Older Carers service.

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 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. You can also leave a message out of hours and we will get back to you during office hours.

Support from Buckinghamshire Council

Buckinghamshire Council has coronavirus support and information with information on support for residents and changes to services.

In response to a number of questions that we have received, documents have been produced and we are advising all carers to read these carefully as there is important information contained within. Although not all of these documents will apply to your circumstances, we advise that all carers read them.

This is if the person being cared for funds their own care, advising of key contacts within the Council and the Community that you may be unfamiliar with.

Carers Bucks have been working closely with Buckinghamshire Council during this time and together we have created a list of the most commonly asked questions and answers.

Please refer to this before contacting the council regarding any of these issues. Please note that if your question does not appear on this list, do not hesitate to contact either Carers Bucks on 0300 777 2722 or the Adult Early Help Team at Buckinghamshire Council on 01296 383204.

It is essential to plan ahead and make arrangements regarding who will care for your loved one should you become unwell. The plan should be shared with others who may provide support and kept in a designated place so that it is easily found. If you have already completed an emergency plan please review this to make sure all of the information within is kept up to date. If you have any queries about how to do this, please call us on 0300 777 2722.

Below is more information from Buckinghamshire Council and select information from the Leader of Buckinghamshire Council Martin Tett’s daily updates.

From “An update from Martin Tett, Leader of Buckinghamshire Council”

The lockdown situation will be having many knock-on effects in different ways for different people.  Many people may be welcoming a slower pace of life and more time with family, but I also know these restrictions, while absolutely necessary at the moment, may also be putting an extra strain on home life.

For some people, the added isolation, job losses and health concerns puts a lot more stress into the home and sadly may leave some people more at risk of experiencing domestic abuse. So during this crisis, it’s more important than ever that everyone is aware of the signs of domestic abuse and how to get support if needed.

I wanted to remind you that anyone experiencing domestic abuse can leave home and seek help, even under the current restrictions on movement.

Local domestic abuse services in Buckinghamshire are still offering support during the coronavirus emergency and there is also help available to people who want to control their abusive behaviour.

Please use the following contacts for any help and support and of course, if you feel you or someone you know is in immediate danger then please call the police on 999. If you’re unable to talk during this 999 call you can press 55 from your mobile and this will transfer the call to the police without you having to speak.

  • The 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline is available on 0808 200 0247.
  • Anyone worried about causing harm to others can get help by calling the Respect Phoneline on 0808 802 4040 or go online here.
  • Wycombe Women’s Aid is on 01494 461 367 and www.wycombewomensaid.org.uk
  • Aylesbury Women’s Aid is on 01296 437 777 and www.aylesburywomensaid.org.uk.
  • Young people affected by domestic abuse can call Childline on 0800 1111 or go online at www.childline.org.uk, or can call SAFE on 0800 133 7938 or go online at www.safeproject.org.uk.

And finally, there is the organisation ‘Reducing the Risk’; info at www.reducingtherisk.org.uk.

From “An update from Martin Tett, Leader of Buckinghamshire Council”

Parents might be feeling confused about when to seek treatment for children for illnesses that aren’t related to coronavirus, especially with the current ‘stay at home’ advice and pressure on the NHS. But this is raising concerns that some people might not be seeking medical help when they should be, whether for themselves or for their children.

The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health has produced this useful advice sheet for parents, with a symptom guide to help them decide which health services (whether GP, pharmacy, A&E or 999) to use if their child should fall ill or experience an injury.

From “An update from Martin Tett, Leader of Buckinghamshire Council”

This is something we are saying in every email but it’s so important we keep getting this information out to you. Our adult social care teams continue to keep checking in with all vulnerable residents we are aware of through this crisis, making regular calls, many daily. Please do tell us if you know of someone who might need our help. You can call the Adult Social Care team on 01296 383 402.

Buckinghamshire Council have a number of independent trained brokers with vast knowledge of registered care providers in Buckinghamshire. The brokers are able to work with you to give impartial support and help to find the right care to meet your needs. They will contact providers on your behalf and negotiate with them to make sure you secure the best price. They will then show you the different care options that meet your needs so you can choose the package that is right for you. During this current climate, there will be no charge for anyone wanting to use the brokerage support service to source a package of care.

GP surgeries are not allowing patients to directly book face to face appointments at the moment, to help stop the spread of the virus. Surgeries are, however, more than happy to discuss your case over the phone and to offer advice and guidance. In some cases GPs and nurses are doing consultations by video link, using mobile phones. If clinically appropriate, you might be able to attend the surgery for an appointment at an arranged time.

It is really important to stay well at this difficult time, so please contact your doctor if your child is poorly with any symptoms that cause you concern. With so much attention on coronavirus at the moment, we are aware you may be concerned your child has a different illness or may be living with a worrying condition like asthma or diabetes.

This information sheet gives very useful advice on when to use services like GPs, pharmacists, A&E and 999. Please remember – all health staff are still here for you, even if they’re having to do things a little differently, so please don’t be afraid to use them if you’re worried about your own or a child’s health.

 National coronavirus advice and information

The gov.uk website has up-to-date information from the Government on things such as national restrictions, self-isolating & testing, work and financial support, education, childcare and travel.

Check out the NHS website for the latest NHS information and advice on coronavirus.

If you are worried that you or someone you care for may be at risk, NHS 111 can offer direct guidance through their online coronavirus symptom checker. Call 111 if symptoms become severe and let them know you are a carer.

This guidance is for everyone in England who has been identified asclinically extremely vulnerable. If you are in this group, you will previously have received a letter from the NHS or from your GP telling you this. You may have been advised to shield in the past.

Read: Guidance on shielding and protecting people who are clinically extremely vulnerable from COVID-19

On Thursday 13 August 2020, The Department of Health and Social Care updated the guidance for people providing unpaid care to family or friends who cannot cope without their support.

It details; what they mean by clinically ‘vulnerable groups’ and clinically ‘extremely vulnerable groups’, if you or the person you care for has symptoms, if you are a carer and you have symptoms as well as general advice on such topics as:

  • What you should be doing to prepare.
  • Protecting yourself and the person you care for.
  • Caring for someone who is clinically ‘extremely vulnerable’.
  • If the person you care for is concerned about their usual paid carer coming in and out of their home and the risk of infection.
  • If the person you care for is in a care home.
  • Maintaining your own health while you are looking after others.
  • Accessing alternative care quickly if you are unable to provide care.

Read The Department of Health and Social Care’s guidance for unpaid carers.

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme grant extension: Find out if you’re eligible and how much you can get.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme: Find out if you’re eligible, and how much your employer can claim if they put you on temporary leave (‘furlough’) because of coronavirus.

Universal Credit

Government confirms £500 million hardship fund will provide council tax relief for vulnerable households (last updated on 24/03/2020)  
Local Government Secretary confirmed £500 million Hardship Fund which will provide support, including council tax relief, in 2020 to 2021 to those who need it most. Guidance was released on 24 March 2020 to provide clarity for councils on how to allocate the funding following its announcement at Budget. The funding will enable further reductions in council tax for working age people in receipt of Local Council Tax Support. 

Guidance for apprentices, employers, training providers and assessment organisations in response to the impact of coronavirus (last updated on 15/10/2020)
The government is committed to supporting apprentices, and employers continue to build the skills capabilities the country needs now and in the future. The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) is responding by taking steps to ensure that, wherever possible, apprentices can continue and complete their apprenticeship, despite any break they need to take as a result of COVID-19, and to support providers during this challenging time.

“Keeping our Customers Safe”

In line with Government advice, to help protect our customers and colleagues, from 24 March our doors will be temporarily closed. You can access support online www.dwp.gov.uk where telephone services are also listed (or for UC customers, through your account)

Jobcentre Plus:

  •  Telephone: 0800 055 6688
  •  Textphone: 0800 023 4888 

Universal Credit Helpline:

  • Telephone: 0800 328 5644

In an emergency only call 01753 615676 or 01753 615634 (we will call you back immediately so that we minimise the cost to you).

If you need referral to a Foodbank, please ring us on the above number.

Who To Contact:

  • Telephone: 0800 055 6688
 Advice for Carers

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.

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.

Every Mind Matters has lots of information how on how to look after your mental health and specifically during the pandemic. They can help you can create your own Mind Plan with tips to on how to deal with stress and anxiety, improve your sleep, boost your mood and feel more in control. Check out the Every Mind Matters website.

Simple breathing exercises can help to relieve symptoms of stress. Make the NHS calming breathing exercise part of your daily routine. It’s simple to do, takes just a few minutes and can be done anywhere.

Buckinghamshire Mind supports people in Buckinghamshire with mental health problems. Check out the Buckinghamshire Mind website for information on how to look after your wellbeing during the pandemic.

Mind, a mental health charity, has 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 Buckinghamshire Council’s relevant Social Care team know about your situation. See Buckinghamshire 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.

You can find information on services, support and advice for Buckinghamshire residents on the Buckinghamshire Council’s coronavirus community hub website.

Are you caring for someone?

Do you look after someone who cannot manage without you because they are ill, frail or have a disability? 

If so, you are a carer and Carers Bucks can help you.