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Little respite for those on the front line

By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON

As the lock-down leash is loosened, and many of us begin to emerge from our precautionary purdah, those who work in care homes must now be called upon to be ever more vigilant in their efforts to shield those elderly, frail people who at the highest risk from the threat of Covid-19.

Initially overlooked by a government which lacked the nous to see beyond the need to protect the NHS, social care staff have had to make moral choices, many of which would have had Solomon stroking his beard, on an almost daily basis. They were placed in positions of avoidable, foreseeable risk, given conflicting guidance and have had to suffer the heartache of witnessing the deaths of so many of those they cared for in situations where family involvement and support could not occur. And they have had to work longer hours, seeing their colleagues come down with a potentially life-threatening illness, and have had to cope with the anxiety of perhaps spreading the infection among their own families.

And now, as Covid-19 ceases to be a daily obsession for most of us, and we again can begin to savour the everyday freedoms which in pre-pandemic days we might have taken somewhat for granted, for social care staff there can be no relaxation of vigilance. Certainly lessons have been learned by both the NHS and social care providers, and both services are better prepared to respond to a potential second wave of viral spread. But for care home staff in particular, working in facilities which have been variously described by an ignorant and sensationalist media as “no-go areas” and “jails of loneliness”, there can be no dropping of the guard for some time to come.

The regular ritual of praise on Thursday nights has run its course and as complacency is restored, I do hope care workers will be well-supported as they continue to do the highly-skilled and demanding tasks which most of us would rather avoid.

  • The CT Blog is written in a personal capacity – comments and opinions expressed are not necessarily endorsed or supported by Caring Times.

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