COVID – frequently asked questions by our clients (updated January 2021)

Published: Friday 27th March 2020

Answers to frequently asked questions about coronavirus (COVID-19) and care provision for our clients and their families.

I am reliant on my Agincare care workers, what will happen if they are no longer able to come?

We have business continuity plans in place to cover emergencies such as this pandemic. All Agincare care and support staff follow strict infection, prevention and control guidelines. Inter-office/care home support networks give flexibility in terms of severe lack of staff in any one service; bank staff and, if necessary, agency workers and appropriate volunteers will be utilised. Off-duty staff may be asked to provide cover at short notice if they are available.

All relevant employment protection regulations which may alter at short notice subject to government advice considering the current COVID outbreak would be complied with, relating to the number of hours worked within a specified period and breaks between periods of working. People who are reliant on the service are prioritised for home visits, where others have family who can support them in the interim or non-essential visits are made such as a weekly shopping call for instance.

Am I able to visit a loved one with COVID-19?

Please see our latest guidance on care home visiting.

I am a carer for someone I don’t live with – what can I do to support them?

Follow support bubble guidance to safely expand the group of people you have close contact with.

How can I protect myself and others?

The best way to protect yourself is to follow government advice and stay at home if possible and if in one of the categories of vulnerable people, shield yourself from others by self isolating. Observe good hygiene by:

  • Cleaning your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand rub
  • Covering your nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing with tissue or a flexed elbow
  • Avoiding close contact with anyone with symptoms
  • Make sure you stay home if you have any symptoms

Do face masks and other protective equipment/wear protect against COVID-19?

People who have symptoms and might be infected with COVID-19 are required to stay in isolation at home and should wear a surgical face mask when in the same room as another person and when seeking medical advice to reduce the risk of transmitting COVID to anyone else.

Wearing gloves and aprons at home are not required, unless you are supporting someone who has symptoms. Personal Protective equipment (PPE) is widely available.

The Department of Health and Social Care is distributing supplies of face masks and other essential protective equipment to all care providers. Agincare is equipped to continue to care for those who have, or are suspected of having coronavirus-type symptoms and care and support staff will ensure all PPE is worn and disposed of in line with current guidance.

I don’t know how I’ll manage being isolated

Being isolated can be difficult, but there are ways to maintain your mental and physical health during these times:

  • If you have symptoms, keep at least 2 metres (3 steps) from other people in your home, particularly older people or those with long-term health conditions
  • Ask friends and family and delivery services to deliver things like food shopping and medicines – but avoid contact with them
  • Sleep alone if possible
  • Regularly wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds
  • Drink plenty of water and take paracetamol to help with your symptoms
  • Get daily exercise in your garden if possible

There are on-line resources available for dealing with coronavirus anxiety, as well as many local coronavirus support groups and forums. Always check you are using a reputable forum/support group as there have been several reports of scammers targeting people with bogus offers of help.

Do I need a medical certificate if I am self-isolating?

You do need to obtain an isolation note, which is available by calling 111. If you are working you will need an isolation note after the first 7 days. Isolation notes can be obtained on-line or by phoning 111.

Do I need to be separate from other people in my home if I am isolating?

Yes. If you are sharing your home with others, you should stay in a different room from other people or be separated as much as possible. Use a separate bathroom, if available. Make sure that you do not share a room with people who are at risk of severe disease, such as elderly people and those who have heart, lung or kidney conditions, and diabetes.

What about groceries, medicines and essentials if I can’t go out?

If you need essential supplies ask a family member or friend (who is not in isolation) to deliver them to your home or shop for groceries online. Have deliveries left at your door.

There is no need to bulk-buy products at supermarkets. It’s important to note the role of family and friends in supporting those in isolation.

What is social distancing?

Social distancing is required for everyone when they come into contact with others in and out of work.

I am self-isolating. Can my pet stay with me? How do I look after my pet during this time?

There is currently no evidence that pets can become sick from Covid-19. It is possible the virus could survive for short periods on a pet (e.g on their fur) but there is no evidence that pets can spread Covid to people.

If you have to self-isolate:

  • Ideally have another person in your household take on the day-to-day care of your pet, to minimise close contact. If you live alone, then consider asking a friend or family member to look after your pet during this time. If neither of the above options are possible, make sure you follow good hygiene procedures. Wash your hands thoroughly before and after handling your pet, their food or disposing of their waste. Avoid letting your pet lick you, especially your face, and don’t share food with them
  • Exercise – ensuring your pet continues to get daily activity is important for both their physical and mental health. If your cats are used to going outdoors, then as long as you are washing your hands before and after handling them, there is no reason to stop them doing this. For dogs, a friend or professional dog walker can take your dog out for you
  • Food – buying food and other items online for delivery can help ensure you don’t run out of pet supplies

How can I help if any of my neighbours/friends/community are affected?

Stay safe by ensuring everyday preventive actions including regular hand washing and there are many ways you can help those affected:

  • Create a list of local organisations in the event that one of you need access to information, healthcare services, support, or resources. Consider including organisations that provide mental health or counselling services, food, and other supplies
  • Create emergency contact lists of family, friends, neighbours, healthcare providers, teachers, employers, the local public health department, and other community resources
  • Learn about the emergency operations plan at local schools or nursery
  • Stay up-to-date using trusted sources of information. The UK Government and the NHS will keep people informed of new advice and developments. Please check the following sources of advice frequently:
    • The Gov.uk website will keep you in touch with how the Government is responding.
    • The NHS website includes a wide range of COVID information.
    • If you are planning to travel abroad check the Foreign and Commonwealth Office travel advice page.

View all our latest news, guidance and FAQs on coronavirus.