Coronavirus > Coronavirus information and support > Looking after yourself and support for you

Looking after yourself and support for you

Caring for someone is an important job. You will be making a huge difference to the life of the person you are caring for. Due to coronavirus however, providing this care may be particularly difficult right now. As well as looking after the person you care for, it is also really important that you take care of yourself.

Reducing your own risk of catching coronavirus

If you provide essential care for someone living with a chest, heart or stroke condition, it is important that you look after your own health and reduce your risk of coronavirus, as well as looking after the person you care for.

To reduce your risk of catching coronavirus, it is important that you follow government advice on current restrictions and staying safe.

If you develop symptoms of coronavirus you must self-isolate and not go out at all for 7 days. Everyone you live with must stay at home and not go out at all for at least 14 days. Our guide explains more on how long you will need to self-isolate.

If the person you care for shows symptoms of coronavirus and you are in the ‘very vulnerable’ group, you should stop providing care. It is important to have an Emergency Care Plan in place in case care need to be taken over.

If you are not in the very vulnerable group, you can continue to provide care but try to limit contact as much as possible. This will be difficult but if possible, sleep in separate beds, use separate household items like cutlery and crockery, try to stay in separate rooms as much as possible, wash your hands often and disinfect surfaces regularly.

For up-to-date advice and information on extra care to take if you are caring for someone at very high-risk of coronavirus, you can also go the NHS Inform website www.nhsinform.scot/coronavirus or call the NHS coronavirus helpline on 0800 028 2816.

How to cope with worry, stress and anxiety

Worry is a very normal response to unexpected events. A certain amount of worry is helpful because it makes us think ahead and plan what we need to do. We worry more when things happen that we do not expect and have little control over.

It is OK and normal feel worried, stressed or anxious about everything that is happening right now. You might feel especially worried if you are caring for someone else, as well as trying to look after yourself. It is important though that we don’t let this worry, stress or anxiety take over. Looking after your own health also means looking after your mental health.

You can find out more about how to how to manage stress and anxiety and practical things that might help, on our coronavirus webpages.

Help available from Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland

As a carer, it is important that you feel supported and able to cope. At Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland, we are here to support you as well as the person you care for.

Information on the support we offer is provided below, and in our downloadable summary.

Hospital to Home Service

Our new Hospital to Home service aims to provide one-to-one support for people recovering from coronavirus across Scotland, as well as people with serious respiratory conditions like COPD.

The Hospital to Home service works with two groups of people:

  • Those who have been hospitalised with COVID-19
  • Those who have been discharged with a respiratory condition that are at risk of readmission and who are also at risk of complications if diagnosed with COVID-19

The service is currently available in NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde and NHS Lothian Health Boards. As the service grows, we expect to roll it out across the rest of Scotland.

People eligible for the service can be referred to us by their local NHS Community Respiratory Team. You can also get in touch directly with us if you would like support on 0808 801 0899.

See our Hospital to Home page for more details.

Kindness Callers

Speaking to someone about how you are feeling is really important. This could be a friend or family member. At Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland our Kindness Callers are also on hand to speak to if you are feeling isolated or you’re finding things difficult.

To receive a call from a Kindness Caller, sign up through our website or call our Advice Line nurses on 0808 801 0899, email adviceline@chss.org.uk or text NURSE to 66777.

Confidential advice and information

Our Advice Line nurses are available to provide free, confidential advice to carers, and the people they care for, on 0808 801 0899, email adviceline@chss.org.uk or text NURSE to 66777.

Health information resources

As well as contacting our Advice Line, our health information resources are freely available to download, print and share. This includes information on healthy living and mental wellbeing.

Online resource for carers who look after someone who has had a stroke

Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland also has a range of online resources for patients, carers, families and health professionals, offering support, advice and information. This includes an online resource called Stroke 4 Carers: www.stroke4carers.org

Stroke 4 Carers includes practical advice, support and information for informal carers, including information on the causes and effects of stroke, providing care at home, money, benefits and legal issues, carer’s rights and support for you.