Covid-19 and Family Carers
We understand that many family carers in Ireland are anxious about the Covid-19 pandemic.
In response to the pandemic, since March 2020 we have co-ordinated the delivery of an online social group to support family carers. You can find the group by clicking https://www.facebook.com/groups/FamilyCarerOnlineSupportGroupIreland/.
We in Care Alliance are not in a position to give medical advice, and would recommend that all family carers follow the recommendations of the Government and the HSE on such matters. Advice is likely to change on a regular basis.
Care Alliance Ireland also join with our colleagues across the sector in formally calling for the inclusion of family carers as a priority groups within the National Vaccine Rollout Plan. You can read our Position Paper on the subject here.
You may also wish to visit a page specifically set up by Family Carers Ireland, detailing the measures that family carers should be aware of in relation to Covid-19: https://familycarers.ie/coronavirus-covid-19-information-advice/.
For those interested in research which has been developed re: topics of interest to family carers you may find our specific section on Carers and Covid-19 on our Policy & Research Roundup useful - click here. We also published an overview of research undertaken regarding Covid19 and family caring in September 2020. You can read that here.
Many of Ireland’s family carers are already providing significant medical care and supports to those who are most at risk from Covid-19. A situation may arise whereby a family carer may need to isolate themselves from the person they provide care for, or indeed may need to continue caring for that individual even if they contract the virus.
It is vital that family carers develop an emergency/backup plan which can be used if a family carer cannot provide care in the home. We have collated some information here which may be useful for family carers in planning for such an event.
Nominate a Backup Carer
Do you have another family member who is willing and able to provide care if something happens and you cannot for a period of time? Make sure that everyone comfortable with this scenario – you as the carer, the person receiving care, and the backup carer – or at least accepting of it. You should make sure that the backup carer has access to important details about the medical and social care needs of the caree. Check to see if there are any tasks that they need to be shown how to do correctly (for example, peg feeding or using particular equipment like hoists or mobility aids). It might be a good idea to pass on this knowledge now rather than having to do it when an emergency occurs.
You should make sure that any health and social care professionals involved in the care of your loved one are aware of this person and know that this person is your backup carer.
Make an Emergency Plan
If you are suddenly unable to provide care, it is important that whoever will take over the provision of care knows all the important information about the particular care situation. We recommend that family carers create a document or folder containing the following information:
Name and contact details for you and the person you care for.
Name and contact details for your and their next of kin (closest living relative).
Name and contact details for your backup carer.
Name and contact details for the healthcare professionals involved with the person you care for: GP, local public health nurse, home care provider or agency, pharmacist, etc.
It should also include the following details on the person you care for:
the medical condition(s), including allergies and dietary requirements
any communication and mobility issues they have
a list of medication they’re taking and details of their ongoing needs
information about who has keys and how to access the property, including alarm codes
any important information about the person’s home, for example, how to turn the central heating on, the location of the fusebox, etc.
any Power of Attorney that’s in place
any advance care plan that has been made.