Guidance for unpaid carers in England

Guidance for unpaid carers in England on accessing respite care during the national lockdown. November 2020. Courtesy: Carers’ Trust.

The Department of Health and Social Care has issued guidance for unpaid carers about what they can do to access respite care during the national lockdown. This includes unpaid carers being able to arrange with family and friends to provide care they would normally provide so the unpaid carer can take a break. Please note this guidance applies to England only.

The new national lockdown regulations, which came into force on 5 November 2020, allow you to  leave home  for respite care where that care is being provided to a vulnerable person (which includes a person with an underlying health condition) or a person with a disability. The regulations’ definition of a ‘vulnerable person’ also includes anyone who is pregnant or aged 70 or older.  The regulations allow carers to access respite from family and friends where this is reasonably necessary to provide respite care for a vulnerable or disabled person or someone with an underlying health condition.

This means that during the current national lockdown you are able to arrange with family or friends for someone else to provide the care you normally provide to the person you care for, to enable you to take a break.   This includes someone coming into the home of the person you care for, which can be overnight. It also means the person you care for can go to someone else’s home to receive care to give you a break from caring, which can also be overnight.  In all these examples, the arrangement must be reasonably necessary for the purpose of respite care being provided for the person being cared for. 

The number of adults in either household does not matter when making arrangements for respite care, provided the arrangements are reasonably necessary and amount to respite care provided to the person being cared for. What is suitable for you, the person you care for and the person providing the alternative care will depend on your own circumstances.

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