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.

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 Friday 17 July 2020

The Government has recently published advice on when masks should be worn in the community. The advice about wearing masks in the community has been the same since the pandemic began: it is not generally recommended. However in some circumstances a mask may provide some protection:

  • If you are in a region where community transmission is occurring
  • If physical distancing is difficult to maintain i.e. on public transport.

Wearing a mask should not replace regular protection measures including hand hygiene and physical distancing.

The NSW Government is encouraging families to contact Service NSW to check their eligibility for various cost of living savings. They are reporting that various support schemes have saved families in NSW over $3 billion throughout COVID-19. You can find out more by visiting www.service.nsw.gov.au/campaign/cost-living

The Government has announced it will invest $2 billion to give Australians access to new skills by retraining and upskilling them into sectors with job opportunities. Details of the program include:

  • The JobTrainer skills package will guarantee support for thousands of apprentices in jobs across the country by subsidising their wages to keep them employed and their training secured.
  • The program will provide up to an additional 340,700 training places to help school leavers and job seekers access short and long courses to develop new skills in growth sectors and create a pathway to more qualifications.
  • Courses will be free or low cost in areas of identified need, with the Federal Government providing $500 million with matched contributions from state and territory governments.

The second $750 stimulus packaged has been released by the Federal Government. The $750 payment will be made to approximately five million Australians including social security, veteran and other income support recipients and eligible concession card holders.

Across the country, people on JobSeeker and Youth Allowance are contacting their local members of Parliament to lobby against the withdrawal of the Jobseeker supplement payment in September 2020 as part of the Raise the Rate for Good campaign's National Day of Action.

The Australian Greens have reiterated their calls for people on the Disability Support Pension (DSP) and Carer Payment to receive extra economic support to help them get through the COVID-19 crisis.

Anglicare Australia is calling on the Federal Government to raise the rate of Jobseeker payments, based on the findings of their national survey which found:

  • the old rate of JobSeeker forced people to turn to charities like Anglicare Australia to get by
  • 2 out of 3 people (58 percent) who came to Anglicare for help were out of work
  • 1 in 2 people (46 percent) needed help to get basic essentials, such as food or medicine
  • 1 in 3 people (33 percent) needed help to manage a low income, such as dealing with a sudden large bill
  • 1 in 2 people (44 percent) have been coming to Anglicare services for a year or more
  • 40 percent of those who came to Anglicare for help were supporting children.

Carers NSW launched our young carer research project report this week, highlighting the COVID-19 related challenges that were part of the research. It also revealed that young carers are resilient in navigating life’s challenges and gain a range of valuable skills and qualities through caring for others. During the peak of the COVID-19 lockdown, Carers NSW conducted online interviews and focus groups with 28 young carers to better understand their experiences and support needs and to learn how to engage with them more effectively. The full report is available at www.carersnsw.org.au/research/

A new report, International examples of measures to support unpaid carers during the COVID-19 pandemic, provides examples of policy and practice measures adopted internationally to support unpaid carers in caring for a person with long-term care needs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Over one million people have completed the Australian Government’s Infection Control Training Module: How to protect yourself and the people you are caring for from infection with COVID-19. While the training is not designed for or targeted at family and friend carers, much of the information may be useful.

Mental health

A free mental health online seminar is being held by Randwick City Council from 11am - 1pm on Saturday 18 July, with Ann Jewitt, a registered Counsellor and experienced Mental Health Educator. To find out more and to register, visit http://ow.ly/1xhX50AyxtE

The seventh Household Impacts of COVID-19 Survey, carried out from 24-29 June, before the reinstating of restrictions in some parts of the country, showed how Australian’s mental health had improved once restrictions were eased.

  • 24 percent of respondents reported experiencing one or more sources of personal stress in June compared to 43 percent in April
  • Around one in eleven people (9 percent) reported suffering loneliness in June compared to one in five (22 percent) in April
  • Significantly fewer people reported feelings associated with anxiety and depression in
  • June compared to April.
  • The proportions of people reporting feeling restless, nervous or overwhelmed in June 2020 fell to rates similar to the 2017-18 National Health Survey
  • One in five people (20 percent) had used a Telehealth service in the four weeks leading up to the survey
  • Almost half of Australians (47 percent) reported they would use Telehealth services after COVID-19 restrictions ease
  • The majority of Australians (92 percent) have continued to keep their distance from people although fewer were avoiding social gatherings, down from 79 per cent in late May to 66 per cent in late June 2020.

Specific information for carers of older people

A new 33-page report titled, ‘Older Australians’ life and care during the pandemic’ released by National Seniors Australia documents the comments of more than 1110 older Australians who were asked online about their needs and concerns at the height of the first wave of COVID-19. A third of the respondents were older Australians providing care for a loved one, who said they needed:

  • Clearer guidance on care during the pandemic
  • Help with care planning
  • Increased support financially and practically
  • Recognition by health professionals of main carers’ essential role in providing care.

The Commonwealth Department of Health and the NSW Ministry of Health have reached agreement on a joint protocol regarding government support in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak in a Commonwealth funded residential aged care facility in NSW. The protocol is principles-based, with the primary objective to make clear the roles and responsibilities of each party to optimise care for all residents in impacted residential aged care facilities (irrespective of their COVID-19 status) and to contain and control the outbreak to bring it to an end as quickly and safely as possible. The protocol is intended to facilitate fast mobilisation of required government support to an aged care provider in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak, with clear reporting and escalation pathways.

Aged Care Quality and Safety Commissioner Janet Anderson has issued a statement about the evolving COVID-19 situation in Victoria, and the Commission's current activities they are taking in response to the increase in Victorian cases.

EveryAGE Counts have released a position statement- Ageism in the time of COVID-19. They also provided a submission to the Aged Care Royal Commission on the aged care response to COVID-19.

Specific information for carers of people with disabilities

NSW Health has published updated COVID (Coronavirus) information for people living with disability and easy read resources on the following:

A new podcast is available on Coronavirus lessons from people living with disability.

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 NSW is seeking further feedback from carers and service providers on the present challenges carers are experiencing as a result of COVID-19. The Policy Team is accepting expressions of interest to be involved in a second Zoom consultation regarding these challenges, to be held on 23 July 2020. To be involved please contact Carers NSW Policy Team by email policy@carersnsw.org.au or phone 02 9280 4744.

You can also provide feedback and your views by completing the Carers NSW online Policy Advice Form survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/policy_advice_form or email Carers NSW on contact@carersnsw.org.au.

 

 

 

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