Carers now have access to greater support amid the coronavirus crisis with the introduction of new virtual services throughout the country.
This month, the government announced the addition of further support services through its Carer Gateway platform to assist those impacted by Covid-19 and limit the amount of face-to-face contact.
As well as online resources already available through the Carer Gateway website, carers will now receive help through support planning, counselling, peer support, carer directed support packages and emergency respite services.
The platform is free to access for anyone caring for a family member or friend who is living with a disability, a long-term medical condition, mental illness, alcohol or drug dependency or someone who is frail due to age.
“Carer Gateway provides practical advice and support, with phone and online options available which will prove even more important given we are all spending more time at home,” Jo Toohey, chief executive of the Benevolent Society said.
“Receiving support early can make a significant difference to a carer’s life, reducing their stress and improving their wellbeing. Carer Gateway is focused on early intervention services to help ensure carers get the help they need as soon as possible.”
To access support through the platform, you’ll first need to make contact by calling the team on 1800 422 737. From here you’ll be connected to a service provider, where a trained worker will discuss your situation with you and help find you the service and support needed.
Carer Gateway offers support both in person and online for those around the country. Once you connect with a staff member over the phone you can simply tell them what you’re looking for, or if you’re unsure what you require you can talk through any problems and they’ll try to match you with the right services.
If you’re feeling anxious or stressed you can arrange to speak to a counsellor over the phone or in person at your home.
The platform can help connect you to other carers in your area to share stories, knowledge and experience. An online community forum on the website is also available for carers to connect.
Service providers can help connect you to emergency respite services during times where you are sick or hurt and can’t look after your loved one or if you simply need some time to rest and relax.
Coaching sessions are available online to help you provide the best care possible for your loved one.
Short online courses are available to help you gain further knowledge about being in a caregiver role.
Information and advice on caring can be found on the Carer Gateway website, including information around financial support.
Most general practitioners are now offering telehealth or telemedicine consultations for their patients who don’t want to attend in person due to their health, age, or situation. These virtual appointments are conducted over the phone or via video conferencing apps such as FaceTime, Zoom or WhatsApp. They allow the patient to speak directly to their doctor about any health issues and concerns.
These telehealth services are not new, with some doctor surgeries already having this option available to its patients prior to the Covid-19 outbreak. However, more health specialists are now making virtual appointments available to help prevent those most at risk of contracting coronavirus from being exposed.
Psychologists, psychiatrists, physiotherapists and occupational therapists are among some of the medical professionals now offering the service. Simply call your GP or specialist to find out if they’re offering telehealth appointments.
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