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Vaccination issue for home carers

(28 Posts)
Pammie1 Thu 21-Jan-21 11:04:31

I am my 90 year old mum’s carer - she lives with myself and my partner and has recently been diagnosed with vascular dementia. Myself and my partner both have serious underlying health conditions. We’ve been shielding for months.

The issue is this. Mum has recently had her Covid vaccination but I have been advised that it will probably be spring before myself and my partner will get ours - if all goes according to plan. I have already had to cancel two hospital appointments and a routine medical procedure for mum, as I am the only one who can take her and there are a couple coming up in the next few weeks for which I imagine I will have to do the same.

Mum is protected, but if I take her to these appointments as normal I am putting myself and my partner at risk. My GP informs me that I am registered as a carer with them but they are unable to help until they are authorised to vaccinate the appropriate categories, and the advice from the clinics involved is to cancel until we’re vaccinated. There must be thousands of others in the same situation so am I being unreasonable to think that the government has completely failed to consider home carers in the same way as front line care workers ?

Oopsadaisy1 Thu 21-Jan-21 11:08:36

My issue would be that you are cancelling hospital appointments that your Mum really needs to go to, which might help prolong her life.
Surely you would be able to take necessary precautions (PPE) so that you could take her?
If your health issues are so bad that you can’t go out Im sure you would also have been called for a vaccine?

NotSpaghetti Thu 21-Jan-21 11:17:32

Has your mother had 2 vaccinations?
She is not properly protected till 2-3 weeks after the second one.

Please don't assume she is ok now.

Blossoming Thu 21-Jan-21 12:11:08

I thought home carers had a higher priority. You can only do what the various clinics advise Pammie1 and cancel the appointments.

Pammie1 Thu 21-Jan-21 14:37:14

@Oopsadaisy1. I do take your point but I have to weigh the risks against the benefits. Up to now two clinic appointments have been cancelled and one medical procedure - an infusion for osteoporosis. The hospital were in agreement that the best course of action would be to cancel as over 60% of their beds are now taken up with Covid patients - the osteoporosis procedure would involve admission to a ward so we would be putting ourselves at significant risk by attending. Covid levels are very high in the local area and two of our close neighbours have died in recent days. I am unwilling to take the chance and possibly infect my partner, as well as mum because, as others have pointed out, she has only had the first part of the vaccine and is not fully protected until April when she has the second part.

I also take your point about the seriousness of the health issues but the advice from my GP is that even though I am considered clinically extremely vulnerable they can’t just give me the vaccine as supplies are not yet available for this group - the vaccination centres are only being given enough vaccine to treat each priority group as it is rolled out. My main worry is that should happen to me, mum would have to go into full time care. It just doesn’t seem to make much sense to ignore the needs of the vast army of home carers, without whom a lot more people would be in full time care. Just my humble opinion.

May7 Thu 21-Jan-21 15:26:02

I completely agree with
all you have to say Pammie1 and I sympathise entirely. Its so difficult to know what to do for the best and to make the correct judgement call. Across the country are an army of home carers just trying to do their best under very difficult circumstances.
I've got no advice for you but just wanted to acknowledge your thread and send some thanks

win Fri 22-Jan-21 10:13:05

This is one of the biggest conversations going on at the moment. Carers are so very confused about when they get their vaccine and why they cannot have it with their cared for. It apply to all unpaid carers whether paid on a budget or PA's it is only the Care Workers i.e. in care homes who are getting their vaccines now. Everyone else have to wait to group 6. As usual Carers have been forgotten, however there are lots of petitions going on and hopefully unpaid carers will be recognised for the hard work they do. I would attend appointments that are essential and postpone any which are not.

4allweknow Fri 22-Jan-21 11:02:25

The carers higher up the list are those going in and out of different houses or in a care home where there are a lot of older people. Surely if the medics are recommending cancelling your DMs appointment they must feel that any postponement will not be life threatening although not enhancing her quality of life. I am not shielding and do have to attend hospital even just to collect special medication and I dread doing so. I would do anything to avoid. Really consider the risk to you all.

icanhandthemback Fri 22-Jan-21 11:07:09

I do agree that it is difficult but we can't all be first. I think if you are having the vaccination near the end of the day, they will often vaccinate a carer at the same time if they have enough of the vaccine but it is dependant on how many people haven't turned up for their vaccines.

JaneJudge Fri 22-Jan-21 11:12:26

You are classed as a family carer not a home carer. I agree that family/spouse and parent carers have been completely overlooked but so have other groups that are extremely high risk such as those with learning disabilities. The only solution I can see is you are either vaccinated yourself so you can take her to appointments OR you insist your local authority provide the funds for you to employ a carer who is vaccinated to take her to appointments. You should however be offered video or phone consultations from the hospital too. Our neurologist for example isn't doing face to face clinic so we are having a video call (next week, so I can't tell you how it yet smile )

Jillybird Fri 22-Jan-21 11:19:40

Indeed, I agree. I have just posted on the other covid thread that I think the clinically vulnerable should have been on the list along with NHS workers. And if carers in nursing homes can be done first I can't see why carers in own home situations can't be done quickly - surely that puts you into the same category as the nursing home carers? Even more so if you are vulnerable yourself! I don't know who plans these things, but they don't seem to look thoroughly at all eventualities and possible scenarios.

maddyone Fri 22-Jan-21 11:27:56

Pammie
I think you’re absolutely 100% correct in not taking your mother to these appointments at this particular time. Last summer when numbers were low was fine, but not now. Please remember as well that your mum is 90 years old, therefore you are probably 25 years younger. I realise it’s not PC to say so, but your mum is likely very near the end of her life, whereas you have perhaps another 20 to 25 years to live. You need to protect yourself from Covid more than your mum needs her appointments.

Eysaphire Fri 22-Jan-21 11:55:47

I care for my disabled husband at home, he has hospital transport to attend hospital appointments, this may be available for your Mum too ?

GoldenAge Fri 22-Jan-21 12:09:03

Pammiel - you have my admiration, nobody can talk about what it's like to look after an elderly parent with dementia until they've done it, and I really do appreciate your dilemma. As things stand you are living together with no carers coming into the house so no potential for covid - and your mum is NOT protected after her first dose so please don't think that, she is still vulnerable. If you catch covid in a hospital you may be very debilitated, you may not and this can't be predicted, but if you are you won't be able to care for your mum and she will end up either having to have carers in and out of your house, or going into a care home, heaven forbid (there is no real improvement now from the situation almost a year ago). Are you your mum's registered carer? If so you are classed as a frontline worker, and should be able to get a vaccination but you need to bang on everybody's door, including your MP's. Good luck.

Visgir1 Fri 22-Jan-21 12:10:17

Don't just leave these appt try phoning the Hospital departments/Doctors secretary explaining your concerns. It might be possible for a telephone appt if she doesn't have to be physically checked.
Communication then can be on a speaker phone so you can join in as well.
At 90 bless her these appt probably can wait a little longer
Or as per other suggestions Hospital Transport which you should be able to book via her GP.
Good luck and keep safe.

HannahLoisLuke Fri 22-Jan-21 13:31:06

Pammiel, I understand your caution and depending on the hospital your mum attends can I give you my experience.
Over the last month I’ve attended two appointments at the eye clinic, one blood test for vit D levels and one appointment for an infusion for osteoporosis. I’ve been advised it’s important to keep strictly to the six monthly dates for the infusion otherwise protection is lost.
The protocols at the hospital were excellent. Only five people in the waiting room, all spaced out, everybody in masks etc. and I felt very safe.
Having said that, except for the blood test all my appointments were carried out at a hospital which only does Out Patient appointments so no wards full if COVIDpatients , although that is the case at the hospital where I had the blood test. That was before Christmas and I’m ok so hope that helps to reassure you.

justwokeup Fri 22-Jan-21 13:33:22

Pammie1 you have really thought this through. Having been in a similar situation, I know every single day is a worry and I completely agree with your reasoning. I can only say you are right to keep your Mum away from hospital or take every step possible to prevent her going in a care home at this time. I know everyone's experience is different but I personally know 4 elderly people who have died of Covid and all caught it in hospital. (I've been told of others too but that's hearsay.) Likewise, even in a lovely care home, you will have access difficulties which creates a different kind of health problem for residents, so you are right not to put yourself at risk. On a different thread there was a discussion about spare vaccine being given to local residents - perhaps you could ask your doctor/nurse if this is a possibility for you?

readalot Fri 22-Jan-21 13:48:41

I'm in the same situation. I'm my husband's carer. He has a lot of medical conditions which I won't go into so he is at risk of he caught it. He's been to the doctors a couple of times otherwise he stays in the house. I have a couple of medical conditions but nothing like his. So I go and get the shopping and otherwise stay in the house to keep both of us safe. I think my husband will get his jab first then I will get mine later on. I do think it is more sensible to do is both at the same time. I would have thought it would have been better to have given the vaccine to you and your hubby at the same time as your mum

Bluecat Fri 22-Jan-21 14:08:20

I think that it is harder to make decisions about other people's health than about your own. It's such a big responsibility and you are so afraid of making the wrong choice.

In your situation, as you are all very vulnerable because of health or age, I would only take mum to vital appointments. Hospitals are doing their best but the fact remains that infection rates are extremely high at the moment, and many people caught the virus whilst in hospital. If an appointment can be delayed, I would delay it. If your mum caught it, there is a strong possibility that she wouldn't survive. If you and your partner got very ill or died, who would look after her?

Regarding vaccinations, I agree that it's very difficult. I suppose that the NHS would say that not everyone can be a priority, and pushing one group further forward must push another further back. I honestly don't know the answer.

SewnSew Fri 22-Jan-21 14:21:58

I wonder if NHS Responders could be of any help in taking your Mum to hospital. I understand your doctor can refer you. I am in a similar position with an older sister who has the beginnings of dementia and certainly could not go to hospital for appointments on her own. My husband is highly vulnerable, so I cannot take her.

elleks Fri 22-Jan-21 15:08:05

Blossoming

I thought home carers had a higher priority. You can only do what the various clinics advise Pammie1 and cancel the appointments.

My 78yr old husband has his jab tomorrow. I (66) asked if I could get mine early, as I'm his sole carer and contact; but was told I'd have to wait.

Molly10 Fri 22-Jan-21 15:35:27

It is sensible to be cautious at this time. Despite your Mother having the vaccine it does not mean she could not get Covid. As for hospital visits they always ask if you are shielding and I know from visits to hospital myself they reduce risks in many ways including fast track and back door entrance. They screen for this and if they know before hand will accommodate as much as possible.

I think its a case of assessing the necessity of keeping the appointment with the healthcare team you are due to see. Also there are situations where some receive home visits for vaccination which would be assessed in your situations.

Speak to the Healthcare teams and hopefully your worries will be reduced.

Tedd1 Fri 22-Jan-21 16:00:38

Why don’t you contact your local GP practice or Immunisation centre and ask if they would put you name on a list to call you should they have any vaccine left over at the end of the day. Might be worth a try

Barmeyoldbat Fri 22-Jan-21 16:09:56

I have three appointments coming up, two will need tests but they are going to be done by video link. Can't you arrange something similar for your mum and you could be with her safely and help her. I also asked my GP practice where I was on the list, 73 and ECV, was told they are still ploughing through the over 75 at the moment and they have people in that age group on standby should someone not turn up

Dillonsgranma Fri 22-Jan-21 16:20:07

Taxis and volunteers are taking the elderly to appointments. Have you contacted age Uk. They will help find a volunteer n