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Coronavirus (COVID-19): Information, advice and support for informal carers

  1. If you provide care for someone who is extremely vulnerable
  2. Advice if you have care workers and other home help
  3. South Tyneside Covid-19 Support Hub
  4. Local support organisations for informal carers
  5. Other support
  6. Some useful tips

If you are worried that you or someone you look after may be at risk, NHS 111 can offer direct guidance through their online coronavirus helpline. Call 111 if your (or their) symptoms become severe, and let them know you are a carer.

If you provide care for someone who is extremely vulnerable

If you have received an NHS letter or are caring for someone who has, you can register for further support at GOV.UK: Coronavirus extremely vulnerable or call the government's new dedicated helpline on 0800 028 8327.

If a person you care for has received this letter, the instructions are very clear. They must stay at home and avoid all face-to-face contact, except from you as their carer and healthcare workers continuing to provide essential medical care.

There are some simple steps that you can take to protect them and to reduce their risk at the current time. Make sure you follow advice on good hygiene:

  • only care that is essential should be provided
  • wash your hands on arrival and often, using soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser
  • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
  • put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards
  • do not visit or provide care if you are unwell and make alternative arrangements for their care
  • provide information on who they should call if they feel unwell, how to use NHS 111 online coronavirus service and leave the number for NHS 111 prominently displayed
  • find out about different sources of support that could be used and accessing further advice on creating a contingency plan is available from Carers UK
  • look after your own wellbeing and physical health during this time

Advice if you have care workers and other home help

The NHS guidance is now very clear. Visits from people who provide essential support such as healthcare, personal support with daily needs or social care should continue. Carers, like yourself, and paid care workers must stay away if you / they have any of the symptoms of coronavirus. The government has provided specific guidance about home care services.

Let friends and family know that they should only visit if they are providing essential care such as washing, administering medication, dressing and preparing meals.

All people coming into the home should wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds on arrival and often during their visit. Have a separate hand towel available for each person and wash them after their visit. Talk to the person you care for about the hygiene and infection control measures they should expect someone coming into their home to follow. 

If you have a care worker employed by an agency ask them what protective measures they are taking and how they plan to respond if any of their staff are affected. If the care worker shows symptoms of coronavirus, inform the agency. They will need to carry out a risk assessment and take steps to protect staff, their families and all clients from the virus. The agency should work with you to make sure that the person you care for is also safe.

South Tyneside Covid-19 Support Hub

If you are isolated in South Tyneside without any means of support, call the COVID-19 Community Support Hub (support for most at risk).

See more about support for people in South Tyneside.

If you have access to Facebook, you may find it helpful to follow #Love South Tyneside and Change4Life South Tyneside where you will find a range of resources and information from local organisations.

Local support organisations for informal carers

Adult Social Care Let's Talk Team - if you or the person you care for have social care needs
Tel: 0191 424 6000

National Dementia Connect support line - dementia advisers will listen and give you the support and advice you need, including coronavirus advice, connecting you to help you need. Phone support is available seven days a week.
Tel: 0333 150 3456
Support line opening hours:

  • Monday to Wednesday, 9am to 8pm
  • Thursday and Friday, 9am to 5pm
  • Saturday and Sunday, 10am to 4pm

Dementia Talking Point -  an online community where anyone who is affected by dementia can receive valuable support. It's free, open day or night, and can be accessed online.

For more local support organisations for informal carers see, Support services for carers.

Other support

Decision Aid 

Decision Aid is a guide to support to help carers when making quick decisions during this difficult time.

The guide covers a number of decisions carers may need to make if the person they are caring for has or is suspected to have COVID-19.

For more information and to access the Decision Aid guide, go to Decision Aid

Community laundry service

Laundry service, including a collection and delivery service, for elderly and disabled people.

For more information contact 0191 489 1701 or see Community Laundry Service

Carers allowance easement

DWP has introduced two important temporary measures to help unpaid carers through the current emergency.

  1. Unpaid carers will be able to continue to claim Carer's Allowance if they have a temporary break in caring, because they or the person they care for gets Coronavirus or if they have to isolate because of it. Under normal rules there are restrictions on breaks in care, but these have been lifted.
  2. Providing emotional support rather than just more traditional forms of care to a disabled person will also now count towards the Carer's Allowance threshold of 35 hours of care a week.

Council Tax 

If you are struggling to pay your Council Tax, you can apply for help towards your Council Tax costs by applying for Council Tax Support.

Paying your rent for South Tyneside Homes Tenants

If you are having difficulty paying your rent or have experienced a reduction in income as a result of coronavirus please call South Tyneside Homes on 0300 123 6633.

Please remember that you can also pay your rent by calling the 24 hour automated payment line on 0300 456 0501. For all the latest advice see South Tyneside Homes

Food banks

The Council has increased its support to food banks.

Some useful tips

Staying connected

Use support you might have through your friends, family and other networks during this time. Try to stay in touch with those around you over the phone, by post or online. Let people know how you would like to stay in touch and build that into your routine.

This is also important in looking after your mental wellbeing and you may find it helpful to talk to them about how you are feeling if you want to.

Create a backup plan

Have a backup plan in case you become unwell and need to self-isolate.

If you do not have any other family or friends who can help you provide support to the person you care for, you can contact Adult Social Care Let's Talk Team on 0191 424 6000 who will be able to help you and assess any social care needs you or the person you care for might have.

Create an emergency plan

As a carer you need to know that if an emergency happens, replacement care will get sorted out quickly and efficiently.

Having 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, or if you have to self-isolate due to Covid-19.

Some of the things you will need in your emergency plan are:

  • details of the name, address and contact details of the person you look after
  • who you and the person you look after would like to be contacted in an emergency - this might include friends, family or professionals
  • details of any medication the person you look after is taking and where it is stored
  • details of any ongoing treatment they need
  • noting details of any allergies
  • details of their GP and pharmacy
  • any ongoing treatment they need
  • any care and support services they receive

You can find out more about creating an emergency plan on Carers UK website.

Think about whether there are alternative ways of getting shopping to the person / people you care for. Trusted neighbours or local support groups such as Covid-19 Mutual Aid UK group could help with this.

You could sign up to a repeat prescription delivery service if the person you care for needs regular prescription medication. For further guidance see NHS: Echo app.

If informal arrangements fall through, you can contact the Adult Social Care Let's Talk Team who can arrange for an assessment for the person you look after or a carer's assessment for yourself. Call 0191 424 6000.


If someone you're caring for lives at a distance, technology can help you keep in touch and alert you to any problems.

You can use Facetime or Skype as a way to talk face to face, though at a distance.

There is also technology that can help with particular tasks, in case you can't be around, such as managing taking medication.

For more information on technology contact the Let's Talk Team on 0191 424 6000

Carers Emergency Support Service - Emergency card scheme

The Carers Emergency Support Service is for informal carers who provide a substantial amount of care and support to a vulnerable adult. It can provide replacement care when you (their carer), are unavailable for short periods. This service is free of charge to all carers.

Examples of an emergency include:

  • Carer's admission to hospital or other health needs which stops them from continuing to provide care.
  • GP or hospital appointment at short notice
  • Family emergency or crisis such as a close relative becoming ill and requiring help / attention
  • Real risk to the carer's employment on a particular occasion
  • Funeral of a close friend or relative
  • Carer at significant risk of breakdown

For more information about this scheme and how to register, see Carers emergency support service.

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