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Carers Support Service
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carers' resource information and support

Coronavirus Update

Please note, that due to the current guidance from the Government, the carers centre is closed to carers, and our usual social opportunities have been postponed.

We are still contactable by telephone and email. The phones will go to answerphone, but we will pick these up regularly and get back to you as soon as possible. If you are able to email us, you may find that we can respond more quickly.  

For those of you who are isolated and have few people to stay in touch with, please let us know if you would welcome a call from us and we will do our best. Find our contact details here.

As the situation evolves, it is important to know what support is available to you as a carer and those you look after. Our friends at Carers UK have put together some useful information on Coronavirus that is really relevant for carers and the people they care for. You can find the information online here.

The GOV.UK website also has up to date information and advice:

There is also specific guidance available for for those who provide unpaid care to friends or family here. 

If you are worried that you or someone you look after may be at risk, NHS 111 can offer guidance, and have set up an online coronavirus helpline. You should call 111 if you have symptoms which become severe, and let them know you are a carer.


What is the difference between self-isolating, social distancing and social shielding? 

The GOV.UK website has some useful information about all three of these areas under the section 'How to protect yourself and others' of their website.

If I, or a member of my household, develop symptoms of Coronavirus, how long do we need to self-isolate for?

The NHS has issued guidance around how long you should self-isolate for should you, or a member of your household, develop symptoms. Read the guidance online here. 

I have started to develop symptoms, can I be tested? 

The NHS has issued guidance around how to get tested if you develop symptoms of coronavirus. Read the guidance online here.

Do I have to wear a face covering? 

You should wear a face covering in indoor settings, as specified by the Government.  Face coverings do not need to be used by children under the age of 11 or those who may find it difficult to manage them correctly. You can find out more information about where face coverings should be worn and who is exempt on the GOV.UK website. 

  • Yellow Buses offer a Journey Assistance Card which you can download or print from their website. 
  • More Bus company offer a Helping Hands card, which you can show the driver as you board the bus. You can find out more information about these here
  • Keep Safe have produced some helpful information and printable cards in easy read format to help with public situations which might happen. 
  • GOV.UK has information about how to make a face covering at home and also downloadable / printable card and badges for those who are exempt who may find it easier to show something. 

Can I still look after the person I care for? 

The Government has released guidance for people who provide unpaid care for family or friends. 

The NHS wrote to everyone considered to be at risk of severe illness from Coronavirus, advising them to shield. The government is advising that those who received those letters do not need to shield at the moment - this is government advice and it is your personal choice whether to follow it. There is more information about this here. 

However, if you start to display any of the symptoms of coronavirus, you should suspend your face-to-face visits. If this means that the person you care for will be even more vulnerable, for example because they will no longer receive the essential supplies that you bring them, there is support available. 

BCP Council has also set up a helpline to support vulnerable people. They are open from 9am - 5pm, Monday - Friday. Tel: 0300 1237052. 

BCP Council and local community groups have joined forces to launch a Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole ‘Together We Can’ community response to help and support vulnerable people during the coronavirus outbreak. Find out more about how you can help or access support here.

The Leonardo Trust has set up a helpline specifically for carers across Dorset, and also offer Masks 4 Carers. Find out more here.

What happens if I cannot care for the person I support?

Make a plan. Knowing that you have a plan in place can help ease your worries if you are not able to care for those you look after at any point in the future.

For many, this will involve contacting a family member, friend or neighbour who is willing to cover in an emergency. For others, it may be noting down the support the person you care for needs, so that people (such as Adult Social Care) can act in their best interests if they need to. 

You can download a template plan here. This may guide you in thinking what information might be helpful to support services who may need to assess your cared for person. We can also pop a form in the post to you.

You may want to consider having a carer’s assessment to establish if you are eligible to join the ‘Carers in Crisis’ emergency back-up scheme. If you would like more information about Carers in Crisis, please get in touch.  

Who do I contact if  myself or the person I care for need support from Adult Social Care? 

Adult Social Care will make essential visits only and will undertake telephone assessments as far as possible. The contact numbers are as follows:

  • Bournemouth and Christchurch - Care Direct - 01202 454979
  • Poole - Helpdesk - 01202 633902

If you require urgent support, out of hours, please contact: 

  • Emergency Duty Service - 0300 123 9895 (Monday - Thursday, 5.15pm - 8.30am and Weekends, Friday 4.45pm - Monday 8.30am)

How do I prove that I am a carer if I am asked?

We recommend carrying your Carers Card, along with a form of photo ID. Your carers card does have an expiry date on the back, so please do check this, and get in touch if you need a new card. 

If you do not have a carers card, you can register with us online. Once we have received your online form, we will pop a welcome pack with your card to you in the post. Join online here. 

Which supermarkets are offering priority shopping hours?

Some supermarkets are still offering priority hours for the elderly and vulnerable. These may be subject to change, so please do try and check with your local store before travelling. 

Where can I find out about how to access food or meal deliveries? 

The MyLifeMyCare website has a list of providers who are confirmed as responding to the COVID-19 outbreak as offering food and meal deliveries. 

The BCP council website also has information about how to access food and support at present. 

Is there a way I get my prescription delivered to me at home? 

The MyLifeMyCare website as a list of pharmacies which offer a delivery service. 

Echo Pharmacy is a free online repeat prescription service by Lloyds Pharmacy. Echo works with GP surgeries in England to take care of prescriptions. You can request your medicines and Echo will confirm and dispense them to a delivery address of your choice.

Are there any online social opportunities for carers to take part in?

We will be hosting online events via our CRISP Carers Forum on Facebook. You need to be a member of the CRISP Carers Information Service to join the forum - making it a safe space to talk to other carers locally online. 

We have put together a short guide to using social media to help you make use of this. Find the guide here. 

We are now also planning to hold some events using the video-conferencing software ‘Zoom’. The person you care for is welcome to join in too. Find out more on our events page

The Care Free Carers Choir will be hosting online sessions via Zoom. To find out more, contact our choir leader Chrissy on 07840976584.

PramaLIFE have launched a friendship line for those who are feeling lonely, or anyone who just wants to chat. It is available 7 days a week, 8am - 9pm. Telephone: 01202 022987

I care for someone with Dementia. Is there any information available to me? 

Living with dementia at any time brings everyday challenges for the person and those around them. Coronavirus may be making daily life much harder. 

The Alzheimers Society have put together some useful information which might help. 

How can I look after my mental health? 

The NHS Every Mind Matters website has some useful information and advice for looking after your mental health.

The Dorset Recovery Education Centre's podcast talks about what challenges caring can bring, and some tips for self-care, looking after ourself and other topics surrounding Mental Health.

BCP Council's Art Programme Manager and artist Anna Shiels is running online Creative Wellbeing sessions weekly.  

If you require urgent mental health support, please phone the Dorset Healthcare 24/7 Connections Phoneline. They will signpost you to the right service for the support you need. Tel: 0300 123 5440