Coronavirus (COVID-19) latest information for carers

Coronavirus (COVID-19) latest information for carers

 

Carers NSW is closely monitoring the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, the ongoing government response and the wide ranging impacts it has on carers. Below is our latest COVID-19 information and resources for carers.

If you need individual information or support, please phone Carers NSW on 02 9280 4744 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm) or call Lifeline at any time on 13 11 14 for 24-hour emotional and crisis support.

Carers and service providers are invited to raise issues for carers and suggest solutions by completing our online Policy Advice Form survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/policy_advice_form or emailing Carers NSW on contact@carersnsw.org.au. This information will help us in adjusting our service delivery and advocating for carers’ needs during the coronavirus pandemic.

General information

The Australian Government Department of Health website provides daily updates, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), the latest news, current facts and figures, travel advice and contact details. Visit www.health.gov.au for more information.

NSW Health provides the latest information and advice on the coronavirus (COVID-19) on their website at www.health.nsw.gov.au

The NSW Department of Communities and Justice have information for seniors, people with disability and carers on their website.

Carers can visit these websites or call the National Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080 (or the National Relay Service on 1300 555 727) for up to date advice about the present level of risk and recommended precautions.

Latest information from 1 April 2020 

Social distancing rules in NSW

On 31 March 2020, the NSW Public Health (COVID-19 Restrictions on Gathering and Movement Order 2020) took effect, making it illegal for NSW residents to leave their home without a ‘reasonable excuse’, and limiting gatherings to two persons. This public health order was put in place in NSW to enact and enforce the recommendations of National Cabinet. Anyone not complying with these rules may be subject to an $11,000 fine or up to six months in prison.

All NSW residents must stay at home, unless they are going to:

  • work and education, where you can’t work remotely
  • shop for food and essentials
  • medical needs or the care of others
  • exercise.

NSW residents are not allowed to gather in public with more than two people except for:

  • members of the same household
  • where the gathering is essential for work or education.

Detailed lists of exceptions are published online at: https://preview.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/public-health-orders 

Carers NSW has also developed a fact sheet that explores common questions about how these rules apply in caring situations.

Mental Health support during COVID-19

A $1.1 billion package to boost mental health services, domestic violence support, Medicare assistance for people at home and emergency food relief has been announced.

Telehealth services will provide health and mental health support services online or over the phone. Health and allied health workers will now be able to bulk-bill services.

Lifeline and Beyond Blue have received additional mental health funding. Beyond Blue will receive $10 million for a dedicated national mental health support service related to the coronavirus outbreak. The new COVID-19 Mental Health Support Service, from Beyond Blue, will offer free information, counselling and referrals online and by phone. It will provide options ranging from coping and wellbeing advice to digital self-help tools and counselling by mental health professionals for all Australians around the clock.

The Mental Health Commission has launched the #InThisTogether campaign - a national online and social media campaign providing important mental health and wellbeing tips.

Coronavirus App and WhatsApp channel

A new coronavirus app and WhatsApp channel have been released by the Australian Government. These new platforms provide a trusted source of information and important advice on how people can protect themselves and others, current restrictions on social gatherings, how they can access support and the latest data on Australian COVID-19 cases.

The app also allows Australians to voluntarily register if they are self-isolating to provide governments with important information to protect public health and safety.

The app is now available on Apple and Android devices. The WhatsApp channel can be accessed by entering aus.gov.au/whatsapp into your internet browser.

Service NSW COVID-19 24/7 contact centre

Last week the NSW Government announced NSW workers and businesses are now able to access a range of advice and support on non-health related COVID-19 enquiries via the Service NSW contact centre 13 77 88.

The hotline will be available 24/7 and will be able to provide the latest updates on restrictions, cost of living assistance, financial support for businesses or rules around social distancing.

Supermarkets and pharmacies

Coles and Woolworths have both extended ‘community hour’. This gives older and vulnerable people a chance to purchase their groceries ahead of the general public.

Community Hour times for seniors:

Coles: Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 7am to 8am

Woolworths: Every weekday from 7am to 8am

Coles have announced Community Hour is now open to carers, friends and neighbours – who can shop on behalf of vulnerable customers during 7am – 8am Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Carers, friends and neighbours need to present the customer’s government-issued Pensioner Concession Card, Commonwealth Seniors Health Card, Companion Card, Seniors Card, Disability Card or Health Care Card when entering the store.

Woolworths will now be delivering the “Basics Box” for $80 (including delivery) to vulnerable Australians including older people, people with disability, those with compromised immunity and people in mandatory isolation.

The NSW Government is now allowing supermarkets and pharmacies to operate 24 hours a day. This means the community will have greater access to food, medical supplies and essential household goods whenever they need it, and greater choice and flexibility in when they do their shopping.

SBS Australia’s COVID-10 online portal in 63 languages

SBS Australia has launched a COVID-19 online portal in 63 languages to help ensure clear messages are available to all language groups. You can find more information here https://www.sbs.com.au/language/coronavirus

Telehealth and digital inclusion

Telehealth gives patients the option to access and manage their healthcare virtually and online from their home.  It also minimises the risk of Coronavirus by reducing person to person contact. You can find valuable, user-friendly information on the Agency for Clinical Innovation (ACI) website here.

Be Connected Learning Portal 

Be Connected is an Australia wide initiative empowering all Australians to thrive in a digital world. Providing online learning resources as well as a Network of community partners - the Be Connected Network - who offer support so you can develop your digital skills and confidence.

The Be Connected Learning Portal is free to use and contains a featured blog post on ‘Coronavirus: how to get advice, stay connected and shop online’ with practical advice and tips.

Self-isolation and restrictions on gatherings

National Cabinet’s strong advice is for self-isolation at home to the maximum extent practicable for people:

  •   over 70 years of age
  •   over 60 years of age who have existing health conditions or comorbidities  
  •   indigenous Australians over the age of 50 who have existing health conditions or comorbidities.

National Cabinet’s strong guidance to all Australians is to stay home unless for:

  •   shopping for what you need - food and necessary supplies
  •   medical or health care needs, including compassionate requirements
  •   exercise in compliance with the public gathering requirements
  •   work and study if you can’t work or learn remotely.

National Cabinet has now placed a limit of two persons only in both indoor and outdoor gatherings, with the following exceptions:

  •   people of the same household going out together
  •   funerals - a maximum of 10 people
  •   wedding - a maximum of 5 people
  •   family units.

Finances and homes

The NSW government has committed $34 million to support people who are homeless during COVID-19. The funding go towards helping people sleeping rough access safe shelters and support during this crisis and providing rental assistance to aid thousands of people who are facing the loss of their home.

The Australian Government has also announced hold on evictions for sixth months, offering protections for millions of renters across Australia.

The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) is calling on energy businesses to offer all households and small businesses who indicate they may be in financial stress a payment plan or hardship arrangement, not disconnecting customers who may be in financial stress, without their agreement before 31 July 2020 and potentially beyond.

Jobseekers will not be penalised for being unable to either attend, or report their attendance, at appointments or activities. Payments will be not be suspended and no compliance action will be taken.

Specific information for carers of older people

The NSW Ageing and Disability Commission has developed a fact sheet which can be viewed here to help identify ways to look out for our seniors in this uncertain time. Tips to help vulnerable older people and people with disability during Coronavirus (COVID-19)

1.       Find ways to keep in touch

2.       Keep an eye on their diet

3.       Do not ignore regular medical needs

4.       Limit the 24 hour news cycle

5.       Remind them of the importance of hygiene

6.       Read information from official sources

If concerns of abuse, neglect or exploitation arise contact the Ageing and Disability Abuse Helpline on 1800 628 221 or call 000 in an emergency.

The Commonwealth Government’s online fact sheet for older Australians is being regularly updated and is an important source of information for seniors.

New COVID-19 resources from the Australian Government Department of Health include:

  •    A fact sheet for Senior Australians is available here.
  •    Advice for retirement villages is available here.
  •    Guidelines for in home care workers is available here.
  •    Guidelines for workers in residential aged care is available here.
  •    Information for families and residents regarding visitation is available here.

Aged care

A $10 million Community Visitors Scheme has been announced to help ensure senior Australians are not socially isolated as a result of visitor restrictions. The funding will support extra staff to train volunteer visitors, who will connect with older people in aged care both online and by phone, and assist seniors to keep in touch with the community and loved ones.

Specific information for carers of people with disability

The Disability Support Guide provides information on helping someone with intellectual disability during COVID-19) it is available to view here.

Keep up to date with the latest information from the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) on their website.

 

 

News:

Accessibility:

High Contrast Switch

Carers NSW acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land, Elders past and present and all Aboriginal people.