What Carers Victoria is doing to reduce risks for carers
Carers Victoria has been closely following government advice regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19) and as of today have made the decision to take the additional precaution of cancelling face-to-face engagements with carers and other stakeholders in the coming weeks to reduce the risk to vulnerable people in our community.
This includes cancelling all our events in March and April. Events are classified as any gathering of people organised by Carers Victoria, such as movie groups, coffee clubs and walking groups.
Our Education Services workshops and programs have also been cancelled; however, we are exploring alternative ways we can deliver these for people who have the time, capacity and access to the internet.
Carers Victoria will continue to offer support to carers over the phone, possibly via videoconference and over email during this challenging period.
Carers should refer to the DHHS website or the National Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080 for up to date advice about the present level of risk and recommended precautions.
Residential Aged Care facilities have new visitation restrictions to combat the spread of COVID-19. Across Australia, visits to aged care residents will only be allowed for a short duration and by a maximum of two people per day, except for palliative care. This recognises that older people are particularly vulnerable to this virus. Children under the age of 16 will only be permitted to attend aged care facilities in exceptional circumstances and further guidelines will be provided to aged care staff around hygiene practices.
To raise any issues particularly impacting carers and the people they care for in Victoria, you can contact Carers Victoria on 1800 514 845.
How Carers Victoria can offer essential services to carers
Carers Victoria is maintaining essential services for carers. These include the 1800 514 845 telephone advisory line, NDIS advisory service, telephone and skype counselling, emergency respite and other carer support services, such as purchasing goods and equipment.
Other carer support services will continue via telephone, skype and email communication.
Regular respite services will continue to be delivered until Carers Victoria is informed otherwise.
We are working closely with other carer support organisations across Victoria to ensure essential services to carers remain a priority and continue to be delivered.
Advice for people over the age of 70
People who are over 70, people with chronic illness over 60 and Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people over 50 are strongly advised to not leave their residence unless absolutely necessary.
If you belong to these groups and have support people available such as family, friends or neighbours, we suggest you contact them to request help in shopping for essential items so you do not have to go out yourself.
If these supports are not available, there are services in place that can assist, including:
- Coles priority grocery services. Find out more here.
- Woolworths priority grocery services including an $80 'basics box' - a box containing meals, snacks and some essential items which can be delivered to your door from next week. Find out more here.
- Telehealth appointments are available whereby you can receive medical advice from your healthcare professional via video conferencing software such as Skype rather than attending in person.
- Free pharmacy delivery services. Find out more here.
A factsheet on assistance with food and meals for older Australians impacted by COVID-19 can be found here. More information for older people living at home has been published by the Department of Health here.
Advice for people caring for someone over the age of 70
Leaving your home to perform caring duties is still considered legal and valid by the Victorian Government.
If you care for someone over the age of 70, it is particularly important that you pay close attention to hygiene and keeping a physical distance of 1.5 metres wherever possible. This includes washing your hands thoroughly, using alcohol-based hand sanitisers where available, covering your mouth with your elbow if you need to cough, disinfecting surfaces you have touched, and disposing of used tissues immediately.
If you are a carer and feel unwell
If you are feeling unwell, we encourage you to draw on the support of those around you including family, friends and neighbours to share caring responsibilities.
The Carer Gateway has information on emergency respite care and has developed an Emergency Care Plan document that will help ensure the person you care for is looked after in the event that you are unable to care for them. It can be found here.
Stay Informed Coronavirus App
Carers Victoria recommends connecting with family and friends on a regular basis via telephone or video calls to ensure you stay connected with your communities.
Please call us on 1800 514 845 for further advice or assistance.
Carers Victoria’s office
In line with the decision to cease all face to face meetings, from Monday 23 March the door to Carers Victoria’s office will be closed.
Visitors will be directed to call 1800 514 845 for assistance.
Stage 4 Lock Down Updates For Carers
The Victorian Government says only children of permitted workers and 'vulnerable children' can access childcare, kindergarten or school.
Carers Victoria has consulted with the Department of Education who have confirmed that carers can still access childcare services or education services under stage 4 restrictions. They are considered ‘vulnerable families’ and therefore fall into the eligible category.
To continue accessing childcare or education services, carers need to:
- Obtain a ‘Vulnerable Families’ form from their current childcare operator or school (all operators will be provided with this form by this afternoon)
- Fill out the form and return to the childcare or education service. All carers need to do is identify themselves as vulnerable, they do not need to disclose details of their situation or reasons.
If carers are unsure about the process or do not receive cooperation from their childcare service or school, or their service has closed, they can contact the Department of Education on their COVID hotline on 1800 338 663, Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.
If they need an interpreter, they can call 131 450 first.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Symptom Checker
Check your symptoms
Use the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Symptom Checker to find out if you need to seek medical help.
IMPORTANT: If you have severe difficulty breathing, call triple zero (000) immediately and tell the call handler and the paramedics on arrival about your recent travel history and any close contact with a person with confirmed or probable COVID-19.