Dorset Council is now providing free personal protective equipment (PPE) to unpaid carers so those with caring responsibilities in Swanage can now access free masks, aprons, face shields and gloves.
Throughout the pandemic, access to PPE for healthcare workers has been the subject of considerable controversy, with many claiming that supplies were inadequate.
Following a Department of Health and Social Care announcement, unpaid carers in the Dorset Council area can now request free PPE for carrying out their care responsibilities.
Unpaid carers include family and friends of vulnerable people who cannot cope without support.
Carers will be able to access free PPE similar to that of NHS staff
“Unpaid carers do an amazing job”
Councillor Simon Gibson, lead member for care at Dorset Council, said:
“It’s great news that PPE has now been made available free of charge to all unpaid carers. While the roll-out of the Covid vaccines has been going well, we’re not out of the woods yet.
“We understand this is still a worrying time for many people and the use of PPE is recommended wherever possible to try and stop the spread of Covid-19. Unpaid carers do an amazing job and I am pleased that PPE has been made available for free, please do check the website to find out more.”
Carers relied on homemade masks at the start of the pandemic due to the shortage of medical supplies
What PPE is required?
Dorset Council outlines the following guidelines for what PPE is needed when performing certain care tasks.
For anything that can be done at the doorstep, such as dropping off provisions or prescriptions, no PPE is needed.
A mask should be worn if entering a care recipients house – while maintaining two metres of distance. If maintaining this distance will be impossible, then an apron and gloves should also be worn as well as a mask.
When providing personal care such as a washing, dressing, feeding, moving or handling, all of the above must be worn and eye protection should also be used if there is a risk of any fluid splash including coughing, spitting or shower splash.
How to get free PPE
Unpaid carers who need free PPE can request it by calling Dorset Council on 01305 221000 or filling out an online form here.
The line is open between 8.30 am and 5 pm on weekdays. Deliveries are available for those who are unable to collect, either in person or by sending someone else.
Any carers who are struggling with the challenges of their responsibilities can find help and guidance at Care Support Dorset on the freephone 0800 368 8349 or by visiting their website.