Guides about coronavirus if you are a support worker

Take a look at the headings below and the links to easy read guides underneath.

Local COVID alert levels

Local COVID alert levels have been introduced in England to stop coronavirus spreading quickly, especially in places where there are a lot of cases.

The 3 alert levels are mediumhigh and very high. The more cases there are in your area, the higher the alert level will be.

You can find out the alert level in your area by using this postcode checker on the GOV.uk website.

Each level has a different set of rules.

We have made easy read guides for the rules at each level, click the links below to view each guide:

Shielding

Some people are more likely to become very poorly if they get coronavirus. The government has made some rules for these people to follow to help keep them safe.

We have made this easy read guide to explain the rules and who should be following them (PDF).

People with Down's syndrome

The shielding guidance applies to people with Down's syndrome.

The Department for Health and Social Care have created this easy read document for people with Down's syndrome (PDF).

This guide explains what might happen if you catch coronavirus and you have Down's syndrome.

About coronavirus

About coronavirus (COVID-19) (PDF)

What will happen if I get coronavirus (COVID-19)? (PDF)

What to expect from coronavirus (COVID-19) if you live with other people (PDF)

What to expect from coronavirus (COVID-19) if you live on your own (PDF)

Self-isolating

About self-isolating if you live on your own (PDF)

About self-isolating if you live with other people (PDF)

Social distancing

About social distancing if you live with other people (PDF)

A guide to the 2 metre and 1 metre plus social distancing rules (PDF)

The government have created these signs that can be used to show the carrier may have difficulties or concerns in maintaining social distancing.

Keeping safe

Top tips to keeping safe from coronavirus (PDF)

Face coverings

This easy read guide explains what face coverings are, including why and how they should be worn (PDF).

There are different rules for wearing face coverings depending on where you are. 

We have created this easy read guide on face coverings rules for people living in England (PDF). (Please see separate guidance for people in Northern Ireland (PDF) and Wales.)

People who do not have to wear a face covering

This guidance explains why some people do not have to wear face coverings (PDF).(For example; because you have a disability that means you cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering, or because it causes severe distress).

If you do not have to wear a face covering, there are cards (sometimes called "exemption cards") that you can take with you when you go out to help explain why, if someone asks you in public. The cards can also be used to ask someone else to remove their face mask or covering so you can understand them better.

Please use these cards if you need them:

Public transport

Ways to help you travel safely on public transport (PDF)

Going to work or working from home

How to work safely during the coronavirus pandemic (PDF)

How to make online meetings accessible (PDF)

Traffic light cards to help you communicate in meetings (PDF)

 

Test and trace

About the NHS Test and Trace application (PDF)

What to do if you are contacted by NHS Test and Trace (PDF)

The NHS have also created easy read posters like this so people know when and how to get a test for coronavirus.

Going to hospital

What may happen if I have to go to hospital because of coronavirus (COVID-19) (PDF)

What may happen if someone I know has to go to hospital because of coronavirus (COVID-19) (PDF) 

These guides also explain what may happen when some people get very poorly with coronavirus and die. We have created information about bereavement and going to funerals to help with this.

However, it is very important to remember that this doesn't happen very often. Most people who have coronavirus will get better.

This letter from NHS England and NHS Improvement (PDF) is about the Clinical Frailty Scale and that it should not be used for patients with a learning disability or autism.

You can also see our response to the NICE guidance here.

When you need to go to hospital

Despite coronavirus, hospitals are still open to everyone who may need them.

Leeds Clinical Commissioning Group have made some information and resources to make sure people know that they can still use their local hospital when they need it. This includes an easy read guide (PDF) and animation.

Rights to healthcare

We've created this guide to explains the rights of people with a learning disability when accessing healthcare (PDF) during the coronavirus outbreak.

If you are concerned that someone's needs are not being met speak to the hospital learning disability nurse or safeguarding team.

If you need help, contact the Learning Disability Helpline.

Changes to care

About changes to the Care Act (PDF)

Easy read guidance to the Care Act changes (PDF)

Food shopping

We've created some letters for you or your support worker to use to contact your local supermarket and find out when their priority shopping hours are, and if they can provide support with your shopping:

Help with shopping letter from a person with a learning disability (PDF)

Help with shopping letter from a support worker (PDF)

Keeping clean and handwashing

How to stop coronavirus spreading by keeping clean (PDF)

How to wash your hands (PDF)

Funerals and bereavement

Going to a funeral during the coronavirus pandemic (PDF)

Information on dealing with a loss, including resources about how to discuss death with a person with a learning disability (PDF)

Government guidance

Latest government guidance

Frequently asked questions

We've created answers to some frequently asked questions around coronavirus for people who care for a person with a learning disability (including support workers and family carers).

Click the questions below to reveal each answer.

Some people with a learning disability or those who are carers will be in a group of people that are 'extremely vulnerable'.

This means that they may be more at risk from getting very ill from coronavirus (COVID-19).

Who may be more at risk of coronavirus (COVID-19)?

People who may be more at risk are:

  • people who are aged 70 or older (regardless of medical conditions)
  • people who are under the age of 70 with a specified, underlying health condition (for adults, this usually means anyone told to get a flu jab as an adult each year on medical grounds)
  • pregnant women.

What can I do right now in case I can't support the person I care for?

Carers should create an emergency plan with the person they care for, to use in circumstances where help from other people to deliver care may be needed.

Depending on the circumstances, this could be help from family or friends, or a care provider.

Some useful things to include are:

  • the name, address and any other contact details of the person you look after
  • who should be contacted if you cannot care for the person due to illness
  • details of any medication the person you look after is taking
  • details of any ongoing treatment they need
  • details of any medical appointments they need to keep
  • an up to date hospital passport.

You should also ensure that the emergency plan is in a format that can readily be shared with other people who need to discuss the plan with the person you care for.

You may be able to arrange help and support from family and friends, but it can be reassuring to have the involvement of your local authority or healthcare provider in case informal arrangements fall through.

You can find out about local carer organisations at Carers UK. You can also find information about local services on the Carers Trust website.

What is a hospital passport?

A hospital passport (Word) is a document that gathers lots of essential information about the person you care for.

It can include lots of the information mentioned in the section above, but also has details of any reasonable adjustments that need to be created so that the person you can care for received equal healthcare.

You passport can include lists of what a person likes or dislikes. This might be about the amount of physical contact the person is ok with, how the person shows they are in pain as well as other details such as what they like to eat.

The passport helps all the hospital staff know how to make the person feel comfortable.

If the person goes into hospital, the hospital passport should go with them. The passport tells the doctors and nurses that they should make a copy and put the copy in your hospital notes.

The hospital passport should hang on the end of the hospital bed, so that anyone treating you can take a look at it.

What should I do if the person I care for has COVID-19 symptoms and I am not in the extremely vulnerable category?

If someone in your household has symptoms you should follow the stay at home guidance from the Government.

This says that if you live alone and you have symptoms of coronavirus, however mild, you should stay at home for 10 days from when your symptoms started or until you are better (whichever is longer).

If you live with others and you are the first in the household to have symptoms of coronavirus, then you must stay at home for 10 days, or until your symptoms have gone, but all other members of your household who remain well must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days.

The 14 day period starts from the day when the first person in the house becomes ill. For anyone else in the household who starts displaying symptoms, they need to stay home for 10 days from when their symptoms appear (or until their symptoms have gone, whichever is the longer) regardless of what day they are on in the original 14 day isolation period.

However, we appreciate following the stay at home guidance may not be easy where you provide close contact care, such as washing or bathing, for a person with a learning disability.

If you do not fall in to the clinically 'vulnerable group' or the 'extremely vulnerable group' you can continue to provide care. You should review the guidelines to take measures to protect yourself and others in the household as best you can by following advice on hygiene and distancing where possible.

What should I do if the person I care for has COVID-19 symptoms and I am in the extremely vulnerable category?

As per the guidance for clinically extremely vulnerable groups, you should avoid contact with someone who is showing symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Where possible, ask someone else (e.g. friends or family) who can support you with providing care, for their help. 

You should distance yourself from the person you care for as much as possible and follow the above guidance.

If you cannot organise alternative care you can contact your local authority or healthcare provider. If you do not know how to do this then you can contact NHS 111. It may also be helpful to contact you local carers support organisation (you can find out about local carer organisations at Carers UK).

How can I protect myself and the people I care for?

You can protect yourself and the person/people you care for by:

  • socially distancing: stay away from people outside of your home as much as you can. If you must leave the house for an approved reason then stay at leave 2 metres away from others.
  • wash your hands regularly: wash with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • ask for assistance: ask family members or friends to collect medicine and food wherever possible. Supermarket deliveries would also be of benefit
  • wear a face covering.

How can I safely care for someone I do not live with?

If you are caring for someone who falls into the clinically 'extremely vulnerable' category for risk of getting very ill from coronavirus (COVID-19), there are some simple steps that you can take to protect them and to reduce their risk.

Ensure you follow advice on good hygiene, such as:

  • only care that is essential should be provided
  • wash your hands when you arrive at the home of the person you care for and often thereafter, using soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser
  • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
  • put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards
  • do not visit if you are unwell and make alternative arrangements for their care
  • provide information on who they should call if they feel unwell, how to use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service and leave the number for NHS 111 prominently displayed.

Should I wear a face covering when I leave the house?

This easy read guide explains what face coverings are, including why and how they should be worn (PDF).

There are different rules for wearing face coverings depending on where you are. 

We have created this easy read guide on face coverings rules for people living in England (PDF). (Please see separate guidance for people in Northern Ireland (PDF) and Wales.)

People who do not have to wear a face covering

This guidance explains why some people do not have to wear face coverings (PDF). (For example; because you have a disability that means you cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering, or because it causes severe distress).

If you do not have to wear a face covering, there are cards (sometimes called "exemption cards") that you can take with you when you go out to help explain why, if someone asks you in public. The cards can also be used to ask someone else to remove their face mask or covering so you can understand them better.

Please use these cards if you need them:

Information from other organisations

You might find it useful to take a look at some information and resources relating to coronavirus (COVID-19) from other organisations.

Talk to us

We know this is a difficult and unusual time. We're here to help.

If you need information or advice you can contact our helpline or if you can, have a chat on our online community

Contact the helpline Go to the online community