Caring for someone who cannot self-isolate

It may not be possible for some people with COVID-19 to self-isolate. For example, a child, an older person or someone with a disability.

They will need your help with daily activities like washing, eating or going to the bathroom.

You and everyone else in the household need to take extra care to reduce the risk of spreading the virus.

Supporting someone with a disability during the COVID-19 pandemic

Restrict your movements

If you are caring for someone who cannot self-isolate, you and the rest of the household should restrict your movements for 17 days. This means staying at home as much as possible to avoid contact with other people.

Do this from when the person you are caring for first developed symptoms. This includes the 10 days of the person's isolation and for 7 days after their isolation period ends.

If they have no symptoms and their test is positive, restrict your movements for 17 days from the date of their test.

Do not go to the shops or pharmacy unless it's absolutely necessary. Where possible, have your groceries or medicine delivered or have some family or friends drop them off.

Minding your mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic

Only have one carer

If possible, only one person should look after the person self-isolating. This should be someone who is in good health, if possible.

This means someone who is not at risk of severe infection such as someone:

  • with a long-term illness
  • with a weak immune system
  • older than 70

Caring for someone in isolation

If you are caring for someone in isolation, you should also:

  • wash your hands properly every time you have contact with the person
  • if you have to clean phlegm or spit from their face, use a clean tissue, put it into a waste bag and wash your hands
  • put them in a well-ventilated room
  • limit their movement in the house
  • get them to use a different bathroom if possible
  • keep them away from older people, people with long-term conditions or pregnant women

If you live with someone else and you are self-isolating

Face coverings and face masks

Both of you should wear a face mask when you have to be in the same room, if possible. If you have one, wear a medical face mask.

If you do not have medical face masks, cloth face coverings will also help.

Read more about who should not wear a face mask

Last updated: 01 February 2021 at 3.20pm