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Being a care worker in a pandemic

With the COVID-19 continuing to take it’s toll, schools and public places closed down, shelves in some shops still being mainly empty and some household name companies are going into administration, plenty of people actually enjoy the idea of self-isolation and social distancing. In times like this, seems like staying in and waiting for the pandemic to “blow over” is the best way to deal with it all. However, there are people out there that aren’t being given a choice in that matter. People that must get up every morning and leave their homes and families to stand at the front line in the fight against the coronavirus. They’re known as key workers. The backbone of all nations. Amongst them – health and social care workers.

Not today Covid

Being a healthcare worker is not always easy on a good day. As rewarding as this profession is, it requires sacrifices, patience, endless amounts of compassion and strength. Every day is always different and uncertain, because you never know what mood or health the people you care for will be in until you see them. During global pandemic, on top of that, you also don’t actually know what state the whole world will be in the next time you have to leave for work. It can be so overwhelming, but we just have to try and stay positive for the sake of all the vulnerable people under are care. They need us to be strong, as they are worried too. About themselves or about their families they can’t meet up with. It’s our duty to be their and each other’s rocks and that can be hard.

Another one of our great responsibilities is the safety of those that we care for, that we work with and, of course, our own. Before the pandemic this would mean to no mix up medication, wash your hands often, support your colleagues, follow care plans and risk assessments for moving and handling, skin integrity, mind your back, wear appropriate footwear, etc. The list goes on but remains straight forward and well understood by everyone. Now, keeping yourself and people around you safe also means you should keep your distance when you can, and wear a face mask when you can’t. You need to frequently disinfect all handles, buttons and surfaces that a lot of people touch. Visitors are not allowed in. When eating meals together, you should sit 6ft away from each other… This new reality can be so strange, when you are used to holding someone’s hand when they’re upset, but now you should immediately wash your hands after you do so. When people can’t see your smile, because you must keep your mouth and nose covered. When no friends and family show up at the door, because they obliged by law to stay in their own homes…

So how do we cope? How do we keep those we care for happy and sane, when the whole world seems to be upside down? My answer is: By looking at the bright side!

Although COVID-19 pandemic is scary, unpredictable and we don’t know how much longer it will go on for, it also turns out to have some good side effects. Our planet is taking a break from all the pollution and human interference. Some of those very busy parents that are never home get to spend quality time with their children. We have a chance to stop, take a look around and realise what’s important, we prioritise our health and most importantly, we’re in this together. This pandemic strengthens the sense of togetherness in people and from that we can see some lovely initiatives and ideas being born. One of them are rainbow tracks, when children draw rainbows and put them up in their windows, so then when they go for a walk with their parents as a form of exercise, they can see who else did the same. Then there are letters and pictures being sent to care homes, to show the people that live there that they are being thought about. Let’s not forget all those people that have taken their time to step out onto their doorsteps or stand in the windows and clap for our fantastic NHS.

There are many more beautiful things being done and behind them there’s the most important message to us all – we have each other and together we will get through this and fight COVID-19 off.

Stay safe and wash your hands!

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