Caring for our carers

I care, you care

Caring through Covid-19

As a carer it is important that you have access to information and support during the COVID-19 emergency.

Regularly updated information about COVID-19 can be found in the news section of our website.

This page includes information on symptoms, face covering, social distancing, track and trace, testing and mental health.

Photo of a carer supporting their companion.

What to do

What important things should I be doing?

  • Let your GP know that you are a carer (if they don’t already know.)
  • If the person you care for needs medication, contact your GP to ensure repeat prescriptions and medication can still be collected. Check if your local pharmacy provide a prescription delivery service.
  • Put an emergency plan in place should you become unwell yourself and unable to care, see be-low.
  • Getting the right information. The Government and the NHS are keeping people informed of new advice and developments. Ensure you are keeping up to date.

Looking after yourself

It is so important to look after your own health and wellbeing. Visit Mental Health Matters’ guide to Mental wellbeing while staying at home.

You can also visit the Coping with Coronavirus advice on our website.

Staying in contact

How can I stay in contact with my loved one who is in a mental health inpatient unit or a community hospital?

Our community hospitals have resumed limited visiting times, by appointment only. Our mental health inpatient units remain closed to visitors until further notice.

Other ways you can stay in contact with your loved one or friend through phone, email or social media (if possible).

Wards are doing what they can to support inpatients who do not have their own technology to enable them to stay in touch with their loved ones.

If you have concerns about your loved one, please contact the ward directly and speak to a member of staff.

Use our Letters to a Loved One Scheme. This is a special service for the friends, families and carers of our patients. Send them a letter, poem or pictures and make their day.

Covid vaccination programme

For the latest information on the vaccine roll out and when you will be eligible as an unpaid carers please see the news article below:

Useful contacts

  • Mental health inpatients and community hospital patients: you can contact the wards directly to speak to the team.
  • Adult mental health team/community mental health team: you can contact your loved one’s care coordinator or mental health team.
  • Children and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS):
    • Oxfordshire: 01865 902515
    • Buckinghamshire: 01865 901951
    • Bath and North East Somerset:01865 903889
    • Swindon 01865 903422
    • Wiltshire: Melksham and Marlborough: 01865 903777
    • Wiltshire: Salisbury: 01722 336262
  • Call our new mental health helplines open 24/7 providing mental health advice during the coronavirus pandemic. It will support people of all ages including children and older adults.
  • Community Health Services: for those who are known to our service, call the Oxfordshire Single Point of Access (SPA) on 01865 903750.
  • Learning Disability Teams (LDT): if you have concerns or need advice, please leave a message and someone will get back to you.
    • North Oxfordshire LDT: 01865 903500
    • Oxford City LDT: 01865 904555
    • South Oxfordshire LDT: 01865 903100
  • Talk to our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) if your query is about the health support we are providing to your loved one. The PALS telephone line (0800 328 7971) is open Monday to Friday between 9.30AM and 4.30PM, excluding bank holidays.
  • Contact Di Hilson, the trust’s carers lead, on 07775 816 646.

Create an emergency plan

This should help ease worries if you become unwell and cannot continue caring activities. Please include in this:

  • name, address and contact details of the person you look after
  • who you and the person you look after would like to be contacted in an emergency
  • details of any medication the person you look after is taking and where it is stored
  • details of any ongoing treatment they need
  • details of their GP
  • any care and support services they receive and contact numbers

Ensure this is shared with those you have named as emergency contacts, other trusted family members and health professionals connected with your loved one’s care.

For more useful guidance on preparing an emergency plan, visit Carers UK.

Staying up-to-date

Where can I keep updated with important information?

Need someone to talk to?

  • Oxford Health Carers Befriending phone line 01865 901 012: If the impact of Covid-19 has made you feel even more isolated and alone, with little or no contact with others, then a friendly chat with one of our volunteer befrienders may help to brighten your day. Call us on 01865 901 012 anytime and one of our befrienders will call you back between 11am and 12pm, Monday to Friday. Learn more…
  • Our local carer support organisations continue to run remotely. Find out what support is available in your area. Alternatively visit our Support page to find out more. 
  • Maintain contact with your support networks over the phone or on social media.
  • Download our information leaflet on bereavement support.

Talking therapies

You may be experiencing low mood, anxiety, worry or stress. If so, our talking therapies services may be able to help you. This is a free NHS service. You can self refer online or over the phone.

For more information on the service they provide and additional resources, visit their website via the links below.

Healthy Minds Bucks

TalkingSpace Plus (Oxfordshire)

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