We understand many of our carers are concerned about Coronavirus (COVID-19) and what it might mean for them. Carers SA remains committed to supporting carers in the South Australian community throughout this unprecedented and challenging time.
- Our phone-based advisory and counselling service is available to support carers and we encourage you to call this service if you need over this time. This service is free and confidential, and available Monday – Friday 9am – 6pm, with professional counsellors available to talk through any concerns you may have.
- Emergency respite is still available and will be offered throughout this period
- The Carer Gateway Community Forum is also available to assist carers connect to other carers and share stories, knowledge and experience. To access this, visit the Carer Gateway Website, www.carergateway.gov.au
- Households receiving government benefits including the Carer’s Allowance may also be eligible to receive a $750 cheque from 31st March as part of the Morrison Government’s $17.6 billon coronavirus stimulus package.
Our main priority is to keep carers and the people they care for well. We highly encourage carers follow these precautions:
- 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
These people 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.
On the Carers SA website, is information about emergency planning and planning ahead. 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 (eg deaf, non-verbal, frail, assistive technology and equipment)
- List of daily care plan (eg medication times, showering, feeding, toileting, activities such as favourite TV show or game)
- Important info about home of person – eg 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 keeping 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 would like to follow the official sites for Covid19, please access the following sites:
The Australian Government’s Department of Health is the official website for the federal response: To access this: https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert
The South Australian Government also have their own dedicated local resources: To access this https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert
If you are worried you may have come into contact with COVID-19 please call the Coronavirus Hotline on 1800 020 080 which is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Carers SA will continue to monitor the situation closely and will take further action as necessary and as guided by the Australian Government.
Carers SA will continue to communicate to you regularly with any updates and we encourage you to check our website regularly.