Carers Australia have collected a range of resources and information to assist them in their caring role during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Keeping Yourself and The Person You Care for Well
- cover your coughs and sneezes with your elbow or a tissue
- dispose of tissues properly
- wash your hands often with soap and water, including before and after eating and after going to the toilet.
- wash your hands for 20 seconds (sing “Happy Birthday” twice)
- use alcohol-based hand sanitisers
- regularly clean and disinfect surfaces
- if you are sick, avoiding contact with others and stay more than 1.5 metres away from people
- clean and sanitise frequently used objects such as mobiles, keys and wallets
Arrange a review treatment plan with your GP or specialist – if you feel unsafe or unsure about sitting in the doctor’s surgery, ask if you can have a phone appointment. The Australian Government has announced that telehealth consultations for people who are:
- isolating at home
- aged over 70
- identify as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and are aged over 50
- have chronic health conditions or who are immune-compromised
- are pregnant or are parents with new babies
will be bulk billed if your doctor is willing to engage through telehealth and accepts bulk billing. This means you can continue treatment from doctors, nurses and mental health practitioners from home.
Make an Emergency Plan
The Carer Gateway has an Emergency Care Plan Document that can help ensure that the person you care for is looked after if you are unable to care.
The Emergency Plan includes:
- Name and contact details for you and person you care for
- Next of kin information for you and the person you care for
- Name and contact details of a back-up carer
- Name and details of GP, specialists and allied health professionals (pharmacy, physio, care team, dentist)
- List of medical conditions, including allergies and implants (such as cochlear implants or pacemakers)
- List of medications and information on where they are stored
- List any communication or mobility issues (e.g. deaf, non-verbal, frail, assistive technology and equipment)
- List of daily care plan (e.g. medication times, showering, feeding, toileting, activities such as favourite TV show or game)
- Important info about home of person – e.g. where house keys are, heating, pets, fuse box, location of medication.
If you and the person you care for have a My Health Record make sure it is up-to-date, including the addition of any Advance Care Plan and Power of Attorney.
Asking for Help and Staying Connected
It’s always good to ask for help if you need it. Talk to neighbours, family and friends about help with groceries or just simply ask them to keep in touch via the phone or email. Chat services like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger can also help you feel more connected.
If you are unfamiliar with these Apps or computers or texting, the eSafety Commissioner has easy to use tutorials.
If you need someone to talk to you can ring the Carer Gateway on 1800 422 737; they can refer you to carer specific supports.
Alternatively, if your mental health is suffering, you can ring Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Kids Help Line on 1800 55 1800. Young adults between the ages of 12-25 can visit Headspace for youth targeted mental health resources.
Limit screen time – it’s easy to feel worried and that you have to stay connected to the news for updates, but social media and the internet are not reliable and can give you the wrong information. The best source of information is from the Australian Government and your state or territory government, as well as reputable media sources such as the ABC or SBS. A good place for primary school children to learn about Coronavirus in a safe, age appropriate space is Behind The News.