Coronavirus: information and updates

What to do if you’re a carer during coronavirus

You cannot visit the person you care for if you either:

  • have coronavirus symptoms
  • live with someone who has coronavirus symptoms 

Symptoms and what to do (NHS.UK)

Personal assistants working in adult social care in England can access weekly COVID-19 testing.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing for personal assistants (GOV.UK)

Where to get rapid lateral flow tests (NHS)

Warning If you are an unpaid carer

If you are an unpaid carer for a friend or family, the government has different advice for what you should do during coronavirus.

Guidance for unpaid carers (GOV.UK)

Free PPE for unpaid carers (GOV.UK)

Make a plan for stopping your care duties

If you can, see if you can find someone you trust who can help. This could be neighbours, friends or family.

Your local Covid-19 Mutual Aid group may be able to help.

The Jointly app makes it easier to communicate with people providing care. Jointly is owned by Carers UK.

Emergency card schemes

In some areas there are emergency card schemes set up for carers. They are meant to help the person you support if something happens to you. Some schemes just notify named contacts. Others may offer personal care for the person you support.

You can usually find these in the social care section of your local authority’s websites.

It might be called:

  • carer card scheme
  • carers emergency card
  • emergency care scheme

Carers are usually asked to register.

Emergency plan

A plan should have things in it like:

  • the name, address and any other 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
  • medication the person you look after is taking
  • any ongoing treatment

Planning for emergencies (Carers UK)

Support from local organisations and volunteers

If you have to stop your care duties, the person you're caring for may be able to get some extra help.

Getting food and essentials

Finding a volunteer

Local authorities

Your local authority might have an emergency plan.

Find your local authority (GOV.UK)


Support where you live (Carers UK)

Stay in touch

Use anything that helps the person you support. For example:

  • video chat apps like Skype and FaceTime
  • telephone calls
  • text messages
  • letters

Watch out for scams

Find people you trust to support the person you are caring for. They should only give money to people they know.

Finding volunteers to shop for you


Be wary of emails offering help, even if you think they are from companies you know and trust. Never click links in emails that you're not expecting. Find the website for the company yourself.

Coronavirus scams (Money Advice Service)

If you do not have symptoms

If you and the people you live with do not have symptoms, you can still support someone if you are their carer.

Only visit if they need your help to do essential tasks. For example, washing, eating, cleaning or taking medication.

You can visit them even if they:

  • meet the government’s criteria for being ‘at risk’
  • live with someone who has symptoms of coronavirus, if you are very careful and take the right precautions

Follow government advice on washing your hands. Some people who have coronavirus do not have any symptoms.

How to wash your hands in 20 seconds (BBC)

If you are able to provide support while staying 2 metres away from the person you are caring for, this is safer.

If the person you are caring for has symptoms of coronavirus

You should follow safe working procedures for:

  • personal protective equipment
  • cleaning
  • laundry

Self-isolation if you or someone you live with has coronavirus symptoms (NHS.UK)

If the person you are caring for lives with someone who has symptoms of coronavirus

Government advice says that you can carry on being a carer if the person you are caring for can self-isolate in their home. This means they would need to:

  • stay at least 2 metres away from people with symptoms
  • use a separate place to wash and go to the toilet 

If they cannot self-isolate from the person with symptoms, you should treat them in the same way as if they have symptoms of coronavirus.

Last reviewed by Scope on: 11/06/2020

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