Guidance for people with carers

There are a range of additional things you need to consider if you rely on care and support from others, whether this be family members, carers from an agency or Personal Assistants that you employ directly.  

Your responsibilities, and keeping the relationship working 

It’s really important to keep a good conversation going with your PAs/carers. Many of us rely on them for day-to-day activities and you might be worried about what will happen if you don’t get that support. But of course, PAs/carers are people who may also be worried about coronavirus and what it might mean for them. So, it’s really important to keep a good dialogue going to make sure you continue to get the support you need. 

It’s also important to remember that you are an employer and your PA/carer will have a contract of employment. That means that you can’t just change the amount that they work without going through a process. It also means that you have a duty of care towards them to protect them from inappropriate risks (such as getting exposed to the virus). You should read the guidance on taking care before arriving at work,and precautions like testing and vaccination, to protect both them and you. 

If you have any questions in relation to the employment position in respect of your PAs/carers you should consult your Independent Living insurance provider and/or PeoplePlus’ Independent Living Service.  

Testing  

According to the NHS, Personal assistants and staff working in domiciliary care, extra care and supported living services should conduct 2 LFD tests per week, taking them before they begin work, spaced 3 to 4 days apart. This also applies to care workers who live with the individual they provide care and support to.  

People who work in care homes, domiciliary care, extra care and supported living services, and adult day care centres, can get free NHS tests. Learn more about how your carers can register for and access free tests.     

Vaccination 

The Coronavirus vaccine is an easy way to stay safe and protected.  

You cannot force your PAs to get vaccinated. That is a personal choice for each person. But there is significant evidence to show that this will protect everyone in our society, especially older and disabled people, and so we recommend that you encourage them to get vaccinated. 

Visit our site on vaccination for more information on who is eligible and how to make an appointment. 

Before arriving at work 

It’s a good idea to ask your PAs/carers to be extra careful when travelling on public transport on their way to work. You want to minimize the risk that they are bringing the virus into your home.  This will help protect them, and you. 

Change in start time – Think about when people arrive and leave. Can you change this so that your PA/carer avoids rush hour especially if they are using public transport? Mid-morning or mid-afternoon should be the quietest time to use public transport. 

As soon as they arrive – They should wash their hands using the prescribed methodology. 

Hand-washing guides: 

 

Making contingency plans 

Most people will have a contingency plan in their existing support plan. But it might only include things like “rely on other PAs/carers”, “get a family member to help” or “get extra support from an agency”. It’s important that you think now about what would happen if your current arrangements were not going to work. Remember that this might happen at short notice. Consider asking yourself the following questions, and discussing them with people around you: 

  • What would happen if you became ill? 
  • What would happen if your PA/carer became ill (when at home, or on a shift)? 
  • What would you do if someone you live with develops symptoms  
  • What would you do if someone your PA/carer lives with develops symptoms? 
  • Have you contacted agencies (or maybe former PAs/carers) for backup arrangements in advance? You can also contact organisations like PA Pool or Independent Living Alternatives. 
  • Have you got a list of other family and friends that could help out as a matter of last resort? 
  • Is there anyone you need to train on anything now (e.g. using specialist equipment, or manual handling training)? 
  • Have you considered using community-based help or other ways of getting access to things like food? 

 

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