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 who do not live in the same household

Advice for carers who do not live 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 the person you care for is in the shielding category or either you or they are symptomatic of COVID-19 – see sections below.

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

Follow the general advice.

Ideally someone in the same household should provide care for your friend or family member.

Where someone in the same household cannot provide care you should:

  • 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 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.

Where possible, you should seek to make alternative arrangements for care of your friend or family member.

If the person you care for develops symptoms of COVID-19 you must not care for them and seek to make alternative arrangements for care.

Where there are no 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 close 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 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
  • your face mask should be replaced if it becomes damaged, soiled or uncomfortable
  • PPE can be disposed of 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 and the guidance for households with possible coronavirus (COVID-19) on NHS inform.

Wherever possible, care should be provided by someone who lives in the same household as the symptomatic individual requiring care.

Where care cannot be provided by soPmeone in the same household you should:

  • 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
Place PPE in a disposable bag and then a secondary disposable bag when removed.  It should be tied and held for 72 hours before being placed in the household bin for collection.

I (carer) have  COVID-19 symptoms

You should not provide direct care if you develop symptoms of suspected COVID-19 and seek to make alternative arrangements for care of your friend/family member.

You should cease all visits to their household until 7 days after onset of symptoms and follow the guidance for households with possible coronavirus (COVID-19) on NHS inform.

Only in an emergency where alternative care cannot be provided by someone else you should:

  • 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
Place PPE in a disposable bag and then a secondary disposable bag when removed.  It should be tied and held for 72 hours before being placed in the household bin for collection.