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Covid-19 Level 4 Update for Carers

SUMMARY OF POINTS IMPORTANT TO CARERS (EXTRACTS FROM SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT WEBSITE)

UNPAID CARERS AND COVID-19 VACCINES

The Scottish Government is adopting the Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) recommendations on priority vaccine groups as set-out below.

Unpaid carers aged 16 to 65 will be prioritised for the COVID-19 vaccine alongside those with underlying health conditions which puts them at risk of the virus. Carers aged 65 and above will be able to access the vaccine earlier under the initial groupings.

Timescales for carers and others to receive the vaccine will become clearer as we know more about vaccine approvals and when supplies will be available.

We will seek to write out to as many carers as possible to inform them of their eligibility for the vaccine but we recognise this will not reach everyone who needs it so this will be supplemented by wider public messaging and other forms of communications.

PKAVS Carers Hub will be in touch with any updates as soon as we get them. If you would like a letter in support of your unpaid carer status we can help with this. Contact your support worker or the Hub directly.

CORONAVIRUS TESTING AND PPE FOR UNPAID CARERS

Unpaid carers are classed as key workers and are included in the priority groups for coronavirus testing. Find out how to get tested in Scotland

If you do not have internet access, you can book a test by calling the national helpline number on 0300 303 2713. You should select the option for Scotland, and wait to hear options for help required.  Helpline staff will then book a test for you at an appropriate test site. Once the test has been booked a unique code will be sent to you by text message or email, which should be taken to the agreed test site.

If you are unable to provide essential care for someone due to suspected or confirmed COVID-19, or any other reason, you should contact your local social work department. 

The Perth and Kinross social work support services can be contacted via the customer service support line

PKC Customer Service Centre - Customer Service Advisors are available to assist with any queries or provide help to use any of our online services Monday to Friday from 8.45 am to 5.00 pm.

The main contact number is 01738 475000

How to access PPE

We have published PPE advice for unpaid carers who visit or live with a friend or family member to provide help with personal care such as washing or dressing. This details the situations in which unpaid carers may require PPE. 

There is a separate guide for unpaid carers on how to access PPE.

PKAVS Carers Hub are supporting unpaid Carers through the process of arranging PPE which you may require to care for your loved ones. To find out if you are eligible, contact us on 01738 567076 or email raymond.jamieson@pkavs.org.uk.

STAY AT HOME GUIDANCE – things you can do

To minimise the risk of spreading the virus, you must stay at home as much as possible.  But below is a list of reasonable excuses.  Although you can leave home for these purposes, you should stay as close to home as possible.  Shop on-line or use local shops and services wherever you can.   Travel no further than you need to reach to a safe, non-crowded place to exercise in a socially distanced way.  To minimise the risk of spread of Coronavirus it is crucial that we all avoid unnecessary travel.

Examples of reasonable excuses to go out: 

  • for work or an activity associated with seeking employment, or to provide voluntary or charitable services, but only where that cannot be done from your home.
  • for education including, school, college, university or other essential purposes connected with a course of study.
  • for essential shopping, including essential shopping for a vulnerable person. You should use online shopping or shops and other services in your immediate area wherever you can. 
  • to obtain or deposit money, where it is not possible to do so from home.
  • for healthcare, including COVID-19 testing and vaccination.
  • for childcare or support services for parents or expectant parents.
  • for essential services, including services of a charitable or voluntary nature such as food banks, alcohol or drug support services.
  • to access public services where it is not possible to do so, including from home:
    • services provided to victims (such as victims of crime),
    • social-care services,
    • accessing daycare centres,
    • services provided by the Department for Work and Pensions,
    • services provided to victims (including victims of crime),
    • asylum and immigration services and interviews,
    • waste or recycling services,
  • to provide care, assistance, support to or respite for a vulnerable person
  • to provide or receive emergency assistance.
  • to participate in or facilitate shared parenting.
  • to visit a person in an extended household.
  • to meet a legal obligation including satisfying bail conditions, to participate in legal proceedings, to comply with a court mandate in terms of the sentence imposed or to register a birth.
  • for attendance at court including a remote jury centre, an inquiry, a children’s hearing, tribunal proceedings or to resolve a dispute via Alternative Dispute Resolution.
  • for essential animal welfare reasons, such as exercising or feeding a horse or going to a vet.
  • local outdoor recreation, sport or exercise, walking, cycling, golf, or running that starts and finishes at the same place (which can be up to 5 miles from the boundary of your local authority area) as long as you abide by the rules on meeting other households
  • to attend a marriage ceremony or registration of a civil partnership.
  • to attend a funeral or for compassionate reasons which relate to the end of a person’s life. This includes gatherings related to the scattering or interring of ashes, a stone setting ceremony and other similar commemorative events.   
  • if you are a minister of religion or worship leader, for the purposes of leading an act of worship (broadcast or online), conducting a marriage or civil partnership ceremony or a funeral.
  • to donate blood.
  • for activities in connection with moving home (including viewing a property), or for activities in connection with the maintenance, purchase, sale, letting, or rental of residential property that the person owns or is otherwise responsible for.  Travelling for the purposes of undertaking essential work on a property other than your main residence should not be used as a pretext for a holiday.  You should not stay longer than for the length of time required to undertake the necessary work.
  • to avoid injury, illness or to escape risk of harm.
  • for those involved in professional sports, for training, coaching or competing in an event.
  • to visit a person receiving treatment in a hospital, staying in a hospice or care home, or to accompany a person to a medical appointment.
  • to register or vote in a Scottish or UK Parliament, Local Government or overseas election or by-election, including on behalf of someone else by proxy
  • to visit a person detained in prison, young offenders institute, remand centre, secure accommodation or other places of detention.

CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19): ADVICE FOR UNPAID CARERS

This guidance is for anyone who cares for a friend or family member who, due to a lifelong condition, illness, disability, serious injury, a mental health condition or an addiction, cannot cope without their support.

It provides information about support available to you during this time.

Key points

You should ensure that you:

  • follow coronavirus public health advice on how to protect yourself and others from infection
  • talk to family and friends about who could take over your caring role if you become ill or need to self-isolate (if you do not already have an emergency plan in place) - particularly as social work services are under increased pressure due to the coronavirus outbreak
  • have key information about the person you care for easily available so that anyone taking over their care has all the information they need

If you are unable to provide essential care for someone and family and friends are unable to help, you should contact your local social work department

Local carer centres and young carer services

In reaction to the coronavirus outbreak, local carer centres and young carer services have had to make adjustments to the way they carry out their activities. This has had an impact on their support they can offer.

Although unable to provide face to face support, most are offering alternative forms of support online or over the phone. You may be able to find the information you are looking for on their website. 

The PKAVS Carers Hub is manned 9-5 pm Monday to Friday to deal with enquiries and direct you to appropriate support. Tel. 01738 567076 (option 2)

Face to face services are not happening at the moment but support is still available for adult carers, young carers, young adult carers. We are also supporting former day service users and their families where we can.

BREAKS AND RESPITE FOR UNPAID CARERS

Support is available to enable you to have a break from caring responsibilities.

PKAVS Carers Hub Day Services

The PKAVS Carers Hub Day Centre remains closed at this stage. Our team will be in touch with service users to update as soon as we can. If you would like to find out more about day service respite visit our website or give us a call. https://www.pkavscarershub.org.uk/PKAVS-Day-Centres

Short Breaks Fund - Time4Me

PKAVS Carers hub distributes these funds in Perth and Kinross. Full details are available on our website or you can call the Hub and leave your details and we will arrange for our fund coordinator to give you a call to discuss.  https://www.pkavscarershub.org.uk/Time4Me Tel 01738 567076

Further advice for parent carers can be found at the Parent Club website.

YOUNG CARERS

PKAVS Young Carers team are not able to provide face to face support at the moment but support workers are available for phone calls and video calls. If you would like some help or just to chat get in touch with your worker or call the Carers Hub and we will get someone from the team to give you call back.

Young Scot has also been working closely with us to ensure they are providing the most up to date information for young people on COVID-19  and the school closures.

Young adult carers who are eligible for the young carer grant can still apply, and like other benefits for carers, some rules have been relaxed. Find out more about the young carer grant at mygov.scot.

SHIELDING – SUPPORT AND INFORMATION

https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-support-information-food-and-other-essentials/

Leaving home to purchase essentials

Individuals who must self-isolate due to suspected COVID-19 symptoms or household members having symptoms, must also not leave their homes. Read more: guidelines for people with possible coronavirus infection on NHS Inform.

For others, including most who were shielding or those at increased clinical risk you can now follow the advice for the general population. This means you are able to leave your home to get food and other essential items. However we ask those at increased risk to take particular care, including washing their hands regularly once they return home.

HELPLINE

If nobody can help you get the food and essentials you need or if you cannot afford to buy them please phone the national helpline on 0800 111 4000or contact via textphone on 0800 111 4114.

The helpline is open office hours Monday to Friday. This will connect you to your local authority who can help provide support or signpost on to other organisations to help you.

Face coverings

The Scottish Government mandate the wearing of face coverings on transport, most indoor public places and communal areas in workplaces. Face coverings play a role in preventing the transmission of COVID-19.

If you need a face-covering exemption card, apply on the Face Covering Exemption Card website [http://exempt.scot/].

If you need more information or support to get food and other essentials including prescriptions

You or the person who cares for you can call the free national helpline number on 0800 111 4000 (Monday – Friday, business hours) or text phone on 0800 111 4114. This will connect you to your local authority.

If you are worried about being able to afford food

The national helpline will be able to connect you to local sources of support.

You can access the national helpline by calling 0800 111 4000 or textphone on 0800 111 4114.

You can also get help from:

HOME ENERGY

With people spending more time at home because of COVID-19, we realise many households are likely to use more energy leading to higher bills.

Your energy supplier may be able to help if you are struggling to afford your energy bills. All energy suppliers have signed up to an agreement to support customers in financial distress, although the nature of the assistance provided may vary between companies. Phone lines may be busy so you may wish to contact your supplier online if you are able to.

Alternatively, you can contact Home Energy Scotland for advice and assistance (telephone: 0808 808 2282). The Scottish Welfare Fund may also be able to help support you in the short term.

HELP WITH MONEY

Benefits

If you’ve been financially affected by coronavirus, and if you’re eligible, you should apply for Statutory Sick Pay, Universal Credit or Employment and Support Allowance. The UK Government has introduced some temporary changes to make this process easier. Find out more from the Department of Work and Pensions.

Scottish Welfare Fund

If you are experiencing a crisis you may be eligible for a Crisis Grant through the Scottish Welfare Fund. You can find further information on The Scottish Welfare Fund and links to your local authority’s website at https://www.mygov.scot/scottish-welfare-fund/.

Struggling with energy bills?

Call Home Energy Scotland on 0808 808 2282

Advice on benefits and money worries

Citizens Advice Scotland or telephone 0800 028 1456

STAYING SAFE

To stay safe and protect others we must minimise the opportunity for Coronavirus (COVID-19) to spread from one person to another.

Meeting others indoors

Local protection guidance has been published which indicates which COVID protection level applies in each local area. It also includes information on what you can and cannot do at each level. At all of the protection levels, you can still go into another household to provide care and support for a vulnerable person. This can include providing emotional support for someone whose wellbeing is at risk, including for those who are isolated because of disability or a caring situation.

Face coverings

The public use of face coverings guidance includes advice on the use of face coverings. There are also details of how to request a face-covering exemption card. Carers do not have to wear a face-covering if it causes distress or anxiety for the person they are caring for.

Travel

The latest travel and transport guidance includes details of how to travel safely. This includes restrictions on travel into or out of Level 3 and 4 local authority areas, or to or from other parts of the UK. Those restrictions do not apply if you are travelling to provide care or assistance for a vulnerable person. This can include providing emotional support for someone whose wellbeing is at risk, including for those who are isolated because of disability or a caring situation.

Car/vehicle sharing and giving lifts

Carers and those they look after can travel together, even if they don’t live together, but they should follow the safe travel guidance at the Transport Scotland website, which provides advice on how to share vehicles safely.

Updated on 11/01/2021

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