If you’re considering care work in Basingstoke, here’s what you need to know about lockdown’s impact on service users and support workers.
When news first started spreading about a strange, new virus that was affecting residents in Wuhan, China, nobody in this part of the world was too concerned. After all we’d have seen and heard it all before with a number of potential pandemics. And from SARS to Ebola, despite the dire warnings, the western world had never been affected. Until now.
Nobody can say that we didn’t see this coming. Even as the disease made its way across the globe, shocking images were landing on TV and smartphone screens. Suddenly the COVID-10 virus was right on our doorstep. So, was enough done to prepare the UK – particularly the care sector – for what was ahead?
In March, as the government issued orders for everyone to stay at home, there was very little advice handed out to people working in the care sector. Whether privately funded or locally run, care homes were pretty much left to fend for themselves.
Without a shadow of a doubt, there are going to be plenty of questions asked over the coming months and years. Service users, their families and friends and support and care workers alike, are angry that they seem to have been overlooked throughout the lockdown. The question remains on everyone’s lips – was enough done to prepare the social care sector for what was about to come?
The true impact of the lockdown measures probably won’t be fully known for months. But we already know that the attempt to keep vulnerable safe may have backfired in many, many cases. In addition to the many instances in which the virus ran rampant through so many care homes, there are some other points to consider.
Managing chronic conditions
Lockdown put a stop to visits to GP surgeries. Some urgent appointments still went ahead by video link, but many previously essential services, including medical regime checks, were put on hold. This has left many patients on medicines that are no longer suitable or appropriate for their needs.
Some care home service users find great reassurance in the words of their GP and have struggled to cope without regular checks. This has often led to anxiety, which brings its own problems. Increased stress levels can lead to challenging behaviours, putting additional strain on other service users and support workers alike.
Trying to explain why family members aren’t visiting has been particularly challenging in many cases. Many service users cannot possibly understand the rules regarding social distancing, putting themselves, other service users and support workers at increased risk.
And of course, questions will continue to be asked regarding the lack of suitable PPE within the industry.
Stress doesn’t just affect service users
Serice users like routine. Knowing what to expect, and when, is incredibly important, and any changes to that routine can cause consternation and distress. So it’s unavoidable that the effects of lockdown will have been profound for them. Suddenly loved ones were no longer able to visit and trips out had to be curtailed.
It’s completely understandable that these events will have affected service users in all sorts of ways. But what’s generally been less acknowledged is the impact on staff. They’ve had to worry about their own safety and that of their families too, as well as feeling the full weight of responsibility for those in their care.
If you’re contemplating a career in care work in Basingstoke, you shouldn’t be at all put off by recent events. In fact, if anything, they’ve helped to highlight some fundamental flaws in the care system. However, suddenly, care workers are being recognised for the invaluable work that they do. Rather than being viewed as in some way being second-class citizens, support workers are seen as providing an essential service.
If there’s one thing that we can all take away from recent events, it’s the importance of looking after one another. And when you opt for a career in the caring industries, you’re making the strongest possible commitment to help other people.