A Carers Guide to COVID-19
What is COVID-19?
COVID-19, previously called the Novel Coronavirus, is part of a family of viruses that includes the common cold, SARS and MERS.
Symptoms of COVID-19?
Similar to the common cold, COVID-19 is spread from person to person when an infected carrier coughs or sneezes, particles are then picked up by another person and ingested through mouth or nose. Symptoms of COVID-19 include: Fever, Coughing, Sore Throat, shortness of breath, and in some cases nausea and/or diarrhoea.
Prevention is the most important action you can take to protect you and your family from getting COVID-19. This includes Social Distancing hand Hygiene and cough etiquette. Please refer to the attached factsheets for detailed information. It is up to all of us to help curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
What can I do to protect myself and the person I am caring for?
- NSW Ministry of Health advises that all people maintain preventative measures. This includes seeking medical advice immediately if you or the person you are caring for display COVID-19 Symptoms.
When at home:
- Maintaining ongoing preventative measures is crucial. Washing hands with soap and water for 20 seconds, (sing Happy birthday twice!) before and after preparing food, cooking and eating.
- Wash your hands before and after assisting you loved one with personal care. Wash hands before and after toileting. Keep all surfaces clean, and wipe down with disinfectant.
- If you or your loved one are sick please phone your local GP or Medical Centre and follow their instructions.
- Maintain self-isolation at home. If you are sick, or the person you are caring for is sick please limit physical contact to a minimum, regardless of the type of illness.
- Stay connected with friends, family and social supports via telephone, online or through social media.
- Please wash hands once you get home from shopping, before unpacking groceries and again after putting shopping away.
- If you are caring for a sick, vulnerable, frail aged or immune compromised person, and you have been out in public, please consider changing into clean clothes before attending to their care. Definitely wash your hands.
When out in the community:
- Wipe down shopping trolleys and baskets with anti-bacterial wipes, do not touch your face while out shopping
- If possible select fresh produce using a plastic bag, minimising the number of times you touch items directly.
- Please be mindful about touching surfaces, lift buttons and railings while out in the community.
- Try not to touch your face, eyes, mouth and nose if you have touched public surfaces and not washed your hands.
What Supports are available to help me through this COVID-19 pandemic?
Instead of attending a face-to-face medical appointment, telehealth uses technology to connect everyone to their medical appointment.
- All participants will be able to hear and see – it’s just like being in the same room, but you can be anywhere.
- Other people can join and participate – such as your family members, Carers or other health or social care providers.
- You will still receive the same standard of care, regardless of whether you attend your appointment face-to-face or via telehealth.
- Telehealth services are provided using secure platforms. Like any face-to-face consultation your privacy and confidentiality will be maintained.
You can ask to receive your care via telehealth. Your clinician will discuss with you the type of telehealth that will be suitable to meet your needs, including what equipment is required. This could be a mobile phone, tablet, laptop or other specialised equipment.
Telehealth can take some getting used to, but it’s easy to set up.
The NSW Government is now allowing supermarkets and pharmacies to operate 24 hours a day. This means the community will have greater access to food, medical supplies and essential household goods whenever they need it, and greater choice and flexibility in when they do their shopping.
Coles and Woolworths both have extended 'community hour'. This gives older and vulnerable people a chance to purchase their groceries ahead of the general public.
Community Hour times for seniors:
Coles: Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 7am to 8am
Woolworths: Every weekday from 7am to 8am
Coles have announced Community Hour is now open to Carers, friends and neighbours – who can shop on behalf of vulnerable customers during 7am – 8am Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Carers, friends and neighbours need to present the customer's government-issued Pensioner Concession Card, Commonwealth Seniors Health Card, Companion Card, Seniors Card, Disability Card or Health Care Card when entering the store.
Woolworths will now be delivering the "Basics Box" for $80 (including delivery) to vulnerable Australians including older people, people with disability, those with compromised immunity and people in mandatory isolation.
Supermarkets will continue to re-evaluate their hours and conditions on a weekly basis. For more information and the latest updates please visit individual supermarket websites.
Please note: the upcoming Easier long weekend means some supermarkets may be closed on Good Friday and Easter Sunday. For more information on store closures and hours over this time, please visit individual supermarket websites.
The NSW Government is now allowing pharmacies to operate 24 hours a day.
Importantly, pharmacists will also be able to dispense regular or emergency medicines without a prescription in the event that you are not able to see your doctor for a prescription, or if you must self-isolate.
Patients will be able to receive a maximum PBS quantity or pack size until 30th September 2020 without a prescription, where the pharmacist is satisfied there is immediate need. The medicine must have been previously prescribed and be for the continuation of current essential treatment where it is impractical to obtain a prescription. If you are not able to contact your GP to arrange a prescription, please contact your pharmacist for more information.
My Aged Care
If you or the person you are caring for are accessing My Aged Care funded services please contact your specific Aged Care Service Provider to talk with them about your services and supports. Particularly if you are concerned about the protocol Support workers should be following in regards to hand hygiene, if they are unwell etc.
To discuss your current My Aged Care plan and or services contact My Aged Care on 1800 200 422. For translating and interpreting services, call 131 450 and ask for 1800 200 422. https://www.myagedcare.gov.au/
- For Carers proving support to a person with an NDIS plan, please refer to the NDIS website there are specific COVID-19 related resources for people with a disability, which can be found at https://www.ndis.gov.au/
- NDIS telephone number is 1800 800 110
Carers in receipt of Carers Allowance and Carers Payment will be eligible to receive the two Economic Support Payments scheduled for April and July 2020. Carers payment and Carers Allowance recipients are not currently eligible for the Coronavirus Supplement Payment of $550 per fortnight.
Contact Centrelink on 132 717 for assistance.
What to do if you or the person you care for develops COVID-19 like symptoms.
- Refer to the Symptoms Factsheet, as it will help you understand the difference between a Cold, the Flu and COVID-19.
- Call your GP, follow their advice. Please ensure you follow the directions given to help reduce the risk of further spreading the disease.
- If you are unable to get through to your GP, call Health Direct on 1800 022 222 to speak to a registered nurse who will guide you on next steps
- You can also contact the National Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080 if you feel unwell, and have similar symptoms to COVID-19 symptoms.
- You will be advised as to what is the best course of action for you to take.
- DO NOT CALL THE HELPLINE IF YOU ARE ONLY AFTER INFORMATION
- If you, or the person you are caring for are experiencing acute respiratory distress, shortness of breath or other significant symptoms we consider this an emergency - call 000 for an ambulance.
What should I do if I am concerned about myself, or the person I am caring for?
- Try and remain as calm as you can.
- Keep connected, speak with family and friends online and over the phone.
- Filter important information, try not to be bombarded with unreliable news and information.
- Limit the amount of news you listen to avoid becoming overwhelmed.
- Reach out to telephone and online supports (contact details below)
Ways to help Carers be prepared during the COVID-19 pandemic:
- It is important that you speak with your GP and Pharmacist about ensuring you have access to all necessary medications.
- Ensure you have at minimum a 14-day supply of food and toiletries. This will mean that should you be required to self-isolate for the 14-day period, and you are unable to leave the house you will have adequate supplies.
- For the elderly, those that have a disability, or vulnerable community members there are some supports and services in place to assist during this time; They are as follows
- Woolworths Priority Assistance. To access the service complete the online request form at https://www.woolworths.com.au/shop/discover/priorityassistance?icmpid=sm-hp-latest-woolworths-update-3:priority-assistance or telephone on 1800 000 610.
- Food bank Australia are working with local charities to enable the reliable delivery of food relief for those who are struggling to secure adequate food supplies Contact (02) 9756 3099 or email [email protected]
What is Social Distancing?
Social Distancing is an important measure in the prevention and further spread of COVID-19.
- Avoid crowds and mass gatherings. Especially where it is difficult to remain 1.5 metres apart.
- Avoid small gatherings in enclosed spaces, this even means family celebrations such as birthday parties.
- Maintain a distance of 1.5 metres (6 feet) between you and other people.
- Do not shake hands, hug or kiss others, regardless if they are strangers or family and friends.
- Do not visit vulnerable people, such as those in aged-care facilities or hospitals, babies or people with weakened immune systems.
- Remember that your adherence to social distancing can help keep both yourself and your loved ones safe.
Or 6 feet to those who don't work with meters
Online and telephone counselling for 12-25yr olds
In the Northern Sydney region there are two headspaces centres that young people can access; both are open Monday to Friday, 9am – 5.30pm:
headspace Chatswood phone: 8021 3668
headspace Brookvale phone: 9937 6500
1800 551 800
1300 789 978
1300 659 467
13 11 14
Mental Health Line 1800 011 511
1300 224 636
1800 422 737
For up to date COVID-19 information please go to NSW Government website https://preview.nsw.gov.au/covid-19 .
Additionally further reliable information can be sourced at https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/diseases/Pages/covid-19-latest.aspx.
The Official Australian Federal Governments website is located at https://www.australia.gov.au/ .