Message from Ann Smith, Chair of the CNWL Carers Council:
As carers COVID-19 is a challenge for us all in our busy lives with the pressures of caring. I am sure you will face the situation with resilience and good humour as you always do. Please remember your health is important for you, at these challenging times we tend to put our own needs as carers low down the list. Here are some tips for looking after yourselves and your loved ones during these times.
- Keep up to date on the latest guidance, using only trustworthy and reliable sources, like the national advice here for everybody, and the CNWL website which will keep you informed of changes in our services.
- If you are worried that you or someone you look after may be at risk, NHS 111 can offer direct guidance as they have set up an online coronavirus helpline. Call 111 if your symptoms become severe, and let them know you are a carer.
- Make a plan for if you become unwell yourself. The charity Carers UK has excellent advice on how to create a contingency plan, including planning for an emergency and asking others for help. This is really important because you need to look after yourself too. They also offer on advice on what to if you are a working carer.
- It is a good idea to let your GP or medical professional know that you are a carer. See Carers UK guidelines on this. You should also let your Local Authority know that you are a carer if you have to self-isolate.
- Be prepared for some health services to operate differently. Over the next few weeks we may make changes to services and to patient care. We will only do this to protect essential NHS Services so that the whole NHS System works together to protect those whose need is greatest. Please talk to our staff about this advice or about your worries.
- Help us help everyone by following good hand hygiene and by staying away from services if feeling unwell. If you’re worried about missing out on important information about your loved one, speak to your local service. Even if you can’t visit a loved one in hospital, you can still pass on messages and ask for updates.
- Stay connected – it may become difficult for us to live our normal lives but do what you can to keep in touch with people. Make the most of technology that can keep you in touch with the person for whom you care, or keep them in touch with others. Ask others for help if you need and don’t suffer in silence if you are worried.
- Take care of your own health and wellbeing – During this time it might feel more difficult than usual to take care of your own health and wellbeing. The organisation Mind have put together some useful resources and advice for individuals staying home during this time.