There has been a lot of references to ‘bubbles’ throughout the pandemic and the government guidelines have used the term to describe several types of situation, such as ‘childcare bubble’, ‘support bubble’ and the more recently introduced ‘Christmas bubble’.
The care sector has naturally had to make many changes to protect vulnerable people while balancing the requirement to provide essential care services. The government guidelines stipulate what measures should be in place for carers, to enable them to continue providing care in the safest possible way. These guidelines refer to a ‘care bubble’ which essentially enables two households to mix so that caring arrangements can be provided.
This has meant that despite lockdown restrictions that have been imposed across the UK recently, relatives and professional carers have been able to enter homes to provide care to vulnerable people, such as bringing and preparing food and helping with dressing, washing etc.
On the 22nd of September, the government introduced the care bubbles so that care arrangements could be continued even under lockdown, or where local tier restrictions were in place. It was announced by the Health Secretary Matt Hancock, who gave the update in the House of Commons:
“I’m able to announce a new exemption for looking after children under the age of 14 or vulnerable adults where that is necessary for caring purposes.
“This covers both formal and informal arrangements. “I hope this change will provide clarity and comfort to many people who are living with these local restrictions.”
How tiers affect care bubbles
This exemption has been of great importance with England going into a second lockdown in November, before returning to a tier-based set of restrictions. In tier 2 and tier 3, which almost 99% of England were placed in starting from the 2nd of December, you are banned from meeting indoors with anyone other than who you live with or are in a support bubble with.
Fortunately, the care bubble exemption applies across all tiers, to ensure that vulnerable people are able to receive the care support they need. It is also possible to be in a support bubble if carers are coming into your home.
Can people visit relatives in care homes?
The most recent guidelines released by the government confirmed that visits to care homes were able to take place as long as COVID secure measures such as screens, or visiting pods were installed to protect vulnerable people from infection. There are also plans for testing for family members visiting care homes to be introduced as soon as possible.
The news of the vaccine being approved by the MHRA is exciting news for everyone and the care sector will be one of the first to benefit, with care home residents and care workers being amongst the first categories to be able to receive the vaccine.
How to support your community
The health pandemic has prompted many people to reflect on their lives and to try and provide help to vulnerable people in their community. If you would like to be able to support your local community, you could apply for a care role at the Human Support Group. Take a look at our current vacancies and find a role where you can make a real difference.