Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): unpaid carers providing personal care

Using PPE to help prevent the spread of the virus for people who visit or live with a friend/family and provide help with washing or dressing.

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Coronavirus (COVID-19): unpaid carers providing personal care
Advice for carers living in the same household

Advice for carers living in the same household

Neither I nor the person I care for have any COVID-19 symptoms

Follow the general advice.

Wear any personal protective equipment (PPE) such as aprons or gloves as you normally would depending on the type of care you provide.  No additional PPE for COVID-19 is required unless you or the person you care for is in the shielding category or symptomatic of COVID-19. See the sections below.

The person I care for is shielding (extremely high risk group)

Follow the general advice.

Familiarise yourself with the shielding advice on NHS inform and help the person you care for adhere to shielding advice. 

Wear any personal protective equipment (PPE) such as aprons or gloves as you normally would depending on the type of care you provide. 

You should also wear a face mask for the period of time you are providing care for your friend or family member. 

After you have provided care directly to the individual, you should remove the face mask (and any other PPE) and maintain a distance of 2 metres or more. 

The face mask should be replaced if it becomes damaged, soiled or uncomfortable.

PPE can be disposed of in the normal household waste bin immediately after use provided the person you are caring for has no symptoms of COVID-19.

I (carer) am shielding (extremely high risk group)

Follow the general advice.

Follow the shielding advice on NHS inform.

If the person you care for develops symptoms of COVID-19 you should seek to make alternative arrangements for their care and ensure you avoid all contact with them. If you are unable to provide essential care for someone, you should contact your local social work department.

Where you are providing personal care you must:

  • wear any personal protective equipment (PPE) such as aprons or gloves as you normally would depending on the type of care you provide 
  • wear a face mask for the period of time you are providing care for your friend or family member.  This is to protect you and is only necessary when providing personal care because it is assumed you will be in very close contact (within 2 metres) with your friend or family member and unable to keep a safe distance 
  • after you have provided care directly to the individual, you should remove the face mask (and any other PPE) and maintain a distance of 2 metres or more. 
  • the face mask should be replaced if it becomes damaged, soiled or uncomfortable
  • dispose of PPE in the normal household waste immediately after use provided the person you are caring for has no symptoms of COVID-19

The person I care for has COVID-19 symptoms

Follow the general advice.

Also follow the guidance for households with possible coronavirus (COVID-19) on NHS inform.

Wear any personal protective equipment (PPE) such as aprons or gloves as you normally would depending on the type of care you provide. 

You should also wear a face mask for the period of time you are providing care for your friend or family member. 

After you have provided care directly to the individual, you should remove the face mask (and any other PPE) and maintain a distance of 2 metres or more. 

The face mask should be replaced if it becomes damaged, soiled or uncomfortable.

When removed, PPE must be placed in a disposable bag and then a secondary disposable bag.  It should be tied and held for 72 hours before being placed in the household waste bin for collection.

I (carer) have COVID-19 symptoms

If you have developed symptoms of COVID-19 but the person you care for has no symptoms, you should not provide direct care and seek to make alternative arrangements for care of your friend/family member. 

You should try to stay 2 metres from them as much as possible and follow guidance for households with possible coronavirus (COVID-19) on NHS inform. 

If the person you care for also has symptoms of COVID-19, you can continue to provide care provided you feel well enough to do so OR where you are unable to make alternative care arrangements you must:

  • wear any personal protective equipment (PPE) such as aprons or gloves as you normally would depending on the type of care you provide  
  • you should also wear a face mask for the period of time you are providing care for your friend or family member  
  • after you have provided care directly to the individual, you should remove the face mask (and any other PPE) and maintain a distance of 2 metres or more 
  • your face mask should be replaced if it becomes damaged, soiled or uncomfortable
When removed, PPE must be placed in a disposable bag and then a secondary disposable bag.  It should be tied and held for 72 hours before being placed in the household waste bin for collection.