CARER of the Year 2018, Brenda O’Connell Barry, is one of the 190,000 Irish people who care for older, disabled, or seriously ill loved ones in their homes.
Family Carers Ireland is calling on Government to put a number of measures in place to protect Family Carers including:
Family carers should be named and recognised as a ‘vulnerable group’ by the Public Health Emergency Committee and a guidance document for family carers should be produced giving advice on how to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in caring situations, setting out protocols and steps to be taken should a family carer or their loved one display symptoms.
Priority testing and verification where there is suspected case of Covid-19 within a family carers home.
Clarification over the continuation of home support services in cases where a person in a household has Covid-19 or is in self-isolation.
Contingency plans for when a family carer is diagnosed with Covid-19 or is in self-isolation.
All family carers should have access to personal protective equipment including hand sanitiser, gloves and aprons and gowns where necessary and be given clear guidance on how to use them correctly.
Covid-19 has forced the closure of many routine services family carers and their loved ones rely on including respite and day care services. Efforts should be made to provide in-home alternatives where practical.