Supporting carers during the COVID-19 pandemic 

Supporting carers during the COVID-19 pandemic 

June 2, 2020

During the COVID-19 pandemic, pharmacies have had to make necessary changes to their usual ways of working in order to ensure local communities can continue to access their medicines. 

The Carers Trust has reported that some carers have had difficulty coping with some of these changes – including queuing outside the pharmacy as a result of social distancing measures and difficulty in accessing and arranging medicines delivery slots. Some young carers have also reported being turned away from pharmacies. 

Pharmacy teams will already be providing support and information to assist carers and making necessary adjustments to support carers and the cared for when they enter the pharmacy. But in addition, the Carers Trust – in partnership with the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and PSNC – are asking pharmacy teams to consider the following actions to support carers in the community:

  • Allowing 2 people into the premises when the carer has no choice but to take the person being cared for to the pharmacy with them 
  • Consider prioritising carers of vulnerable / shielding people for medicine delivery slots
  • Review the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s guidance on ‘Children collecting medicines from a pharmacy’ and recognise that, for some families, young carers are the only people able to collect medicines in the household

A guide has also been published to support unpaid carers to make the most out of their pharmacy team. It sets out helpful hints and tips for carers including:

  • Ordering prescriptions at least seven days before they are needed
  • Only ordering as much medicine as needed
  • Checking dispensing hours before visiting a pharmacy
  • Asking family, friends or a local action group to help if you’re unable to collect a prescription
  • Making an emergency plan in case you become unwell and cannot collect medication
  • Making sure you know the full name, address and date of birth for anyone you’re collecting a prescription for and bringing ID with you

Kathryn Hill, Carers Trust, Director of England, said:

“Network Partners of Carers Trust, local charities that work directly with unpaid carers, have reported to us that accessing medicines has caused stress and concern for many unpaid carers over the past few weeks.

“At a time where unpaid carers are under significant emotional, physical and financial pressure it is important that they do not face additional hurdles to access the medicines that they, or their loved ones, rely on.

“We’re delighted to have led a partnership that has developed tools to help carers and pharmacists work together to make sure that everyone who needs to access medicines is able to do so as easily as possible.”

Zoe Long, PSNC’s Director of Communications and Public Affairs, said:

“Community pharmacies have had to make significant changes to their ways of working in order to remain open safely for patients and local communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. This has included putting in place measures to allow for social distancing.

“Like pharmacies, carers are playing a crucial role in helping many people to access their medicines, and we hope this guidance from Carers Trust will help them and pharmacy teams to better understand the pressures they are both under at this time and the steps they can take to help one another.”

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