Friday 27th March 2020

Planning for an emergency

Why create an emergency plan?

  • It is important that we protect vulnerable people during the coronavirus outbreak. If you have been in contact with anyone that has symptoms consistent with the virus or have symptoms yourself, then you will need to strictly self-isolate. 
  • If you provide vital care to a vulnerable person, it is therefore important to make a plan for who will take over your role if this were to occur.
  • Having a plan in place ensures replacement care can get sorted out quickly. 
  • Many find having an emergency plan in place eases their worries about what will happen if they are unable to look after the person they care for in future.

Who should create an emergency plan?

  • Anyone who requires support with their day-today needs can create an emergency plan in conjunction with their carer. 
  • It is important to involve others including family members and friends, if possible.
  • Consider making plans for what to do if care arrangements have to be changed at short notice or if the carer becomes symptomatic and needs to self-isolate.

Useful information to include within an emergency plan

  • Details of the name, address and contact details of the vulnerable person requiring support 
  • Who someone should contact in an emergency e.g. family members and their contact details
  • Emergency contact details for health or social care professionals e.g. the GP practice they are registered with, District Nurse, Care Agency
  • Details of any medication and/or on going treatment the person you care for needs

Other things to consider

  • Think about ways to reduce the number of face-to face interactions
  • Consider alternative ways to have shopping or medication delivered 
  • Sign up to an online prescription service. This can be done via their GP Surgery. 
  • Prepare a hospital bag in case they need to be admitted urgently. This should include emergency contact details and details of any medication taken. If they have an advanced care plan, please also include this.
  • If you are struggling to find alternative options for care in an emergency then you can register for support via:

Emergency Carer Card Schemes

  • In some areas there are emergency card schemes that have been set up for carers, often by the local council or a local carers centre. 
  • In these instances, carers are usually asked to register and, with help from a skilled worker, draw up their emergency plans. 
  • The plans are then held by the scheme which provides a 24-hour response service.
  • Carers carry a card with the scheme’s telephone number and a unique identification number to avoid any personal details appearing on the card.
  • You can check if your local area offers this service at:

Reducing the risk of an emergency

What general steps can I take to reduce my risk of becoming infected with COVID-19?

There are general principles you should follow to help prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) and these apply to everyone:

  • wash your hands more often – with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use a hand sanitiser. Do this after you blow your nose, sneeze or cough, and after you eat or handle food
  • avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
  • avoid close contact with people who have symptoms
  • cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in a bin
  • clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces in the home

Who is at higher risk of severe illness from coronavirus?

  • People who fall within a high risk group will have been sent a letter by the NHS and strongly advised to follow shielding measures for the next 12 weeks. Please note that this period of time could change.

What is shielding?

  • Shielding is a measure to protect extremely vulnerable people by minimising all interaction between those who are extremely vulnerable and others. 
  • People identified as being in a high risk group should not leave the house and avoid all non-essential face-to-face contact.  This includes going out for shopping, leisure or travel. 
  • When arranging food or medication deliveries, these should be left at the door to minimise contact.

I live with a person at high risk, what can I do to shield them?

The rest of your household  should stringently follow guidance on social distancing, reducing their contact outside the home. In your home you should:

  • Minimise the time you spend with others in shared spaces (kitchen, bathroom, and sitting areas) and keep shared spaced well ventilated
  • Aim to keep 2 metres (3 steps) away from others in your household and encourage them to sleep in a different bed where possible
  • Use separate towels and, if possible, use a separate bathroom from the rest of the household, or clean the bathroom after every use (for example, wiping all surfaces you have come in contact with). 
  • Avoid using the kitchen when others are present, take your meals back to your room to eat where possible, and ensure all kitchenware is cleaned thoroughly. If you have one, use a dishwasher. If this is not possible, wash used utensils using washing up liquid and warm water, and then dry them thoroughly with a separate tea towel. 
  • Everyone in your household should regularly wash their hands, avoid touching their face, and clean frequently touched surfaces

If the rest of your household are able to follow this guidance, there is no need for them to take the full protective measures.


This article was accurate as of the 27th March 2020.