Reassuring unpaid carers that help is available
Recognising the additional pressure that current conditions may be placing on people who help to look after a loved one, Hampshire County Council is reminding informal (unpaid) carers that there is help and advice available to support them and the individuals they help to care for, including planning for unforeseen emergencies.
The Council’s Executive Member for Adult Social Care and Health, Councillor Liz Fairhurst, said: “There is an army of unpaid, informal carers in Hampshire who play a vital role, every day, in helping vulnerable people in our communities stay safe and well. We know that the Coronavirus outbreak is worrying for them and may be presenting even more challenges, on top of the usual demands. We are also acutely aware that many carers will be supporting people who are especially vulnerable and currently shielding from COVID-19. “That’s why we want to ensure that Hampshire carers know how to plan for an emergency situation in case they become unwell themselves, as well as where to find good quality information and support.”
All informal carers are urged to prepare an emergency plan, which outlines how the person they support can be cared for if they need to self-isolate or are taken into hospital. Information about emergency planning for carers, including an outline plan that carers can complete, is available online from the Princess Royal Trust for Carers in Hampshire at https://carercentre.com. Carers can also call Emergency Planning for Carers on 0800 169 1577 – available 24 hours a day.
If a carer is someone’s only source of support and there are no other relatives, friends or neighbours who can help in their place, the carer’s emergency plan should include making the person they care for aware of the new Hantshelp4vulnerable helpline: 0333 370 4000 (calls are charged at the local rate). Set up in response to the Coronavirus pandemic, the helpline is available seven days a week, from 9am to 5pm, for vulnerable people who need urgent assistance with food and household supplies, collecting medication or are at risk of loneliness.
Advice for carers is available from the Hampshire Carers’ Support and Dementia Advisor Service provided by Andover Mind. While face-to-face support is currently unavailable, people can still contact the service online at https://www.andovermind.org.uk/accessingourservices/ or by phoning 01264 332297 to leave a message requesting a call-back. This service is available to all carers aged 18 or over, regardless of the needs of the person they care for.
Access to a range of other support and resources is available through Connect to Support Hampshire - www.connecttosupporthampshire.org.uk - the county’s one-stop online directory where carers can find information about local services in their area as well as how to arrange a carer’s assessment with their local authority to identify what support they might need and how to obtain it. The Connect to Support Hampshire website includes a dedicated Coronavirus resource page with links to information specific to carers, such as the latest Government guidance for those who provide unpaid care to friends or family.