Coronavirus guidance for carers

Last changed: Wednesday 18 March, 2020
Hands being washed in a sink

Last updated Tuesday 17 March 2020.

Do you provide unpaid care and support to a family member or friend who is ill, frail, disabled or has mental health or addiction problems?

If you are worried that you or someone you look after may have the coronavirus and you cannot cope with the symptoms at home, go through the questions on the NHS 111 website. If you cannot access the online help, or are concerned, call 111 telling them that you are calling about coronavirus symptoms and that you are a carer.

What do I need to do?

The current advice (as of Tuesday 17 March 2020) on the NHS Coronavirus page is:

Stay at home for 7 days if you have either:

Stay at home if you have coronavirus symptoms

Stay at home if you have either:

  • a high temperature – you feel hot to touch on your chest or back
  • a new, continuous cough – this means you’ve started coughing repeatedly

Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.

You do not need to contact 111 to tell them you’re staying at home.

Testing for coronavirus is not needed if you’re staying at home.

How long to stay at home

  • if you have symptoms, stay at home for 7 days
  • if you live with other people, they should stay at home for 14 days from the day the first person got symptoms

If you live with someone who is 70 or over, has a long-term condition, is pregnant or has a weakened immune system, try to find somewhere else for them to stay for 14 days.

If you have to stay at home together, try to keep away from each other as much as possible.

Read advice about staying at home on the NHS site and more detailed advice on

Use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service if:

  • you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home
  • your condition gets worse
  • your symptoms do not get better after 7 days

Use the 111 coronavirus service

Only call 111 if you cannot get help online.

How do I protect someone I care for?

To protect yourself and others by follow the hygiene and infection control guidelines from This BBC’s video and included under How to avoid catching or spreading coronavirus on the NHS website.

Be prepared

If you feel that you may have to forego your caring duties, consider putting a contingency plan in place and, if you can, make cover arrangements with family members, friends or / and trusted neighbours.

Information is available from Carers UK on creating a contingency plan, for example, ensuring key information is available for health care workers; drawing on networks of community and family support; and exploring what technology can be used to support anyone you look after when you can’t be in the same place at the same time.  In addition staff at Carers’ Resource can help with this and it can be done over the telephone.

Carer’s assessments

You can also find out more about a carer’s assessment, which could be the first step to gaining additional vital support if you need it. It’s also your chance to discuss any help you need as a carer. If you’ve already been assessed, it is always worth double checking that more support isn’t available to you. Contact Carers’ Resource if you would like a carers assessment or to discuss what other help you can get.

Emergency plans

You could also put in place an Emergency Plan in case you are taken ill away from home.  Workers at Carers’ Resource can help put one together and register it with the local authority.

Local councils

Councils have been advised to develop care and support plans to prioritise people who are at the highest risk. They have also been asked to contact all registered providers in their local area to make necessary plans. 


If you are in receipt of benefits, the Department for Work and Pensions have issued the following statement: ‘DWP have confirmed that ensuring that people continue to receive payments as normal will always be a key priority’.