Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
We have made a list of questions we are most often asked. We will update these regularly.
Question: What are the rules at the moment (April 2021)?
Answer: There is government guidance here: (COVID-19) Coronavirus restrictions: what you can and cannot do – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) This explains all of the rules that are still in place at the moment in England.
Question: Is there any advice for unpaid carers of adults with learning disabilities and autistic adults?
Answer: Yes. The government has written guidance for carers on how to keep themselves and the person they care for safe. It is available here: Coronavirus (COVID-19): providing unpaid care to adults with learning disabilities and autistic adults – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Question: What is the new guidance for people who are Clinically Extremely Vulnerable to Covid -19?
Answer: There is updated government guidance (18th March 2021) available here: Guidance on shielding and protecting people who are clinically extremely vulnerable from COVID-19 – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Question: Can my Personal Assistant(s)(PA) get regular Covid 19 tests?
Your PA(s) can now get a weekly Coronavirus (Covid19) test offered by NHS Test and Trace.
They will need to sign up to a webinar (online training) where they will get all the information they need to get their regular tests.
For more information and to sign up for the webinar go to the government website Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing for personal assistants – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
For testing ,a personal assistant as someone who is directly employed by an individual (or self-employed) to provide care and support to enable them to live as independently as possible.
If the website isn’t working / there are no home test kits available please try again as soon as possible after 8am or 12pm when test kit allocations are refreshed.
If you’re having difficulties, call 119 between 7am and 11pm for assistance and say you’re a personal assistant (PA) or calling on behalf on your PA.
If your PA has to self isolate, they may be entitled to a payment of £500.
Question: I am an unpaid carer for a disabled person. Can I get a Covid 19 vaccine?
If you are an unpaid carer for a disabled person, you can now get the Covid 19 vaccine. The NHS is now offering the Covid 19 vaccine to people in priority group 6, which includes adult carers.
This means people who receive carer’s allowance, or people who are the main carer of an elderly or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if the carer falls ill.
How do I get the vaccine?
Your GP can record that you are a carer on your patient record. If your GP already knows you are a carer, you will get an invitation to have the vaccine and you don’t need to do anything.
If your GP is not aware you are a carer, or you aren’t sure, you can contact them to let them know. You can usually contact your GP on their website.
Contacting them online may be quicker than by phone, as they will be busy at the moment.
Question: Can my Personal Assistant(s) (PAs) get a Covid 19 vaccine?
Answer: Yes. You (the employer) will get a letter with information about this in late January or February 2021.
This will be different by area. In Cheshire the letter will come from the local Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) which is part of the NHS, or from your local council. In Lancashire, you will get a letter from the council.
You should wait until you get the letter and follow the instructions in the letter carefully. Please do not contact your GP and please ask your PA not to contact their GP either.
If you have any problems with the instructions in the letter, please contact your Direct Payment support provider, which might be us (Disability Positive) or someone else. If it is us, you can email [email protected] or 03333 660 107 .
Question: What are the current restrictions in England from 4 January 2021?
Answer: As of 4 January 2021, there is a national lockdown in England which means you must stay at home unless you have a ‘reasonable excuse’. This means a reason that the government allows. The full list guidance is available here: National lockdown: Stay at Home – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Question: I was ‘shielding’ during the lockdown in early 2020, do I need to again?
Answer: If you are ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ to Covid-19 you should shield again. You will get a letter from the NHS if you are affected by this, and this will be addressed to you. Information about the letter is available here COVID-19: letter to clinically extremely vulnerable people – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Question: Can I get a Coronavirus antibody test for my Personal Assistant (PA) ?
Answer: Anyone who works in social care can get an antibody test. The antibody test will tell you if you if you have had Coronavirus/Covid-19 before, but this does not mean that you will definitely be protected from in future.
Your PA can find out how to get a test here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-antibody-tests/coronavirus-covid-19-antibody-tests
Question: What is a ‘support bubble’?
Answer: A support bubble is a close support network between a household with only one adult in the home (known as a single-adult household) and one other household of any size.
You can find more information about making a support bubble here https://www.gov.uk/guidance/making-a-support-bubble-with-another-household
Question: What is the latest guidance for people who get a Direct Payment?
Answer: The latest guidance (September 2020) and easy read version is available here:
Question: I am worried about the new rules that I will have to wear a face covering in shops. I would find this very difficult, what should I do?
Answer: The government has announced that from 24 July 2020 people will need to wear a face covering in shops, in the same way as they do on public transport unless they are not able to do so because of a disability or health condition.
The guidance makes it very clear that you do not have to wear a face covering if your disability or health condition makes it difficult for you to.
There is also guidance on what to do if other people wearing masks makes it difficult for you to understand what is being said.
The full guidance is available here
Question: I have a disability that makes it difficult to wear a mask, but I’ve heard that I have to wear one to use public transport, is this true?
Answer: No. If you have a disability that makes it difficult to wear a mask you do not have to wear one. There is guidance available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-safer-travel-guidance-for-passengers#exemptions-face-coverings
Question: Can I get a Coronavirus/Covid-19 test for me and/or my personal assistant?
Answer: Yes, if you or your personal assistant has the symptoms below you can get a test. Symptoms are:
-A high temperature. Feeling hot, you do not need to take your temperature
– A new, continuous cough. Coughing a lot for more than an hour
– If you feel you have lost your sense of taste or smell, or your sense of taste or smell has changed
To get a test for your personal assistant (and anyone they live with) they will need to use the government’s self referral portal for essential workers https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-getting-tested#how-to-arrange-a-test
To get a test for yourself, you will need to use the NHS website www.nhs.uk/coronavirus
If you can’t use the website you can use the new NHS phone service to arrange a test by calling 119.
Question : What if my Personal Assistant is off sick and cannot get a sick note?
Answer: Please write down the dates your personal assistant was off sick and let your payroll provider know these dates by email. Your Personal Assistant can give you a sick note at a later date. Please keep the sick note with your Direct Payment records.
If your Personal Assistant is self- isolating because of coronavirus symptoms they do not need a sick note and will get Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) as normal.
Question: Can I get Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) for my Personal Assistant?
If you or anyone one who lives with you has symptoms of coronavirus this can be provided free of charge. If your Personal Assistant normally gets PPE to support you, this should continue.
If your direct payment contains funding to purchase PPE for your Personal Assistant, you should continue to use that funding to purchase PPE.
If you live in Lancashire there is a supply of PPE available at the office of our partner, Disability Equality North West. You can contact them by email at [email protected]
If you live in Cheshire, please contact your Arrangement of Care and Support Adviser at Disability Positive who will be able to help you.
If you live in Bolton, we will update details as soon as we can.
. There is also government guidance if you receive a direct payment available here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-people-receiving-direct-payments
Our services during the coronavirus outbreak
We are here to help, so please let us know if you are struggling. We will do our best to help you.
During the new national lockdown in November 2020 all of our services will be working in the same way as they were during October 2020, and we will update this page if anything changes.
Please call us on 01606 331 853 if you need any support.
Community engagement activities including Good Company, Buzz Group will run weekly calls by Zoom.
We are planning to run some small social distanced in person activities in November if we can.
We are doing wellbeing checks with all of our customers, to check that you are ok and if you need anything.
What is coronavirus?
COVID-19 or coronavirus is a new illness that has infected many people around the world.
An easy read guide to coronavirus is available here, produced by Inclusion North
If you have it, you may have a fever (high temperature) and a cough. You may also loose your sense of smell and taste. Sometimes this can get worse and become severe pneumonia (a chest infection) which can make it difficult to breathe.
If you have a long term health condition, are older, or have a weakened immune system, coronavirus can be much more serious.
If you think you have the symptoms (the signs of having coronavirus) you should use the NHS website or call 111. The website will ask about your symptoms and you may be asked to go for a test. https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19
Do not contact your GP unless you are not well.
Below are links to general advice and information
These links are to information or support not managed by Disability Positive but may be useful:
Links and downloads
- Coronavirus overview – nhs.uk website
- National lockdown: Stay at Home – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Coronavirus Vaccines – nhs.uk website
- Reasonable adjustments for Covid vaccine for adults with autism – template
- Care plan for Covid vaccine for adults with autism -template
- Guidance on Covid-19 for people who receive a Direct Payment GOV.UK website
- Frequently Asked Questions for people who employ a Personal Assistant -Skills for Care website
- How to make a ‘support bubble’ with another household – GOV.uk website
- Easy read guide to coronavirus
- Easy read guide to Coronavirus Vaccination
- Coronavirus: NHS Advice – nhs.uk website
- NHS Coronavirus 111 Service
- Coronavirus: latest information and advice – GOV.UK website
- Cheshire West and Chester Council Coronavirus information
- Cheshire West and Chester Council FAQs on Coronavirus
- Live Well Cheshire West and Chester – advice and information
- Cheshire East Council Coronavirus Information
- Cheshire East Council Covid Support Grant
- Lancashire County Council Coronavirus Information
- Bolton Council Coronavirus Information
- Government advice on Coronavirus for supporting living and home care gov.uk website
- Advice on Coronavirus for carers from Carers UK
- Facebook support group ‘The Bunker’. This is a support group for disabled people who are self isolating and employ a personal assistant.
- Disability Rights UK
- Coping with Coronavirus Wordless books
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