Last reviewed on 21 January 2021
As you look after the people in your care – either in a care home or in their own home – during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, it’s more important than ever that you also look after yourself. If you’re feeling anxious or stressed, these are perfectly normal reactions to the challenges you face. It’s OK to not feel OK.
Good Thinking has put together this guide to help support your mental wellbeing. It includes practical tips, links to further support and a checklist video.
If you work in a care home in London, you can get more detailed guidance in the London Care Home Resource Pack (NHS). This includes information about infection control, PPE, supporting residents and staff wellbeing and free wellbeing offers available to you. Care home staff and local authority or CCG system champions can access this pack on the Capacity Tracker resource centre (log in then go to the ‘London Regional Guidance’ page).
You might also find the new Care Workforce app (CARE) useful. You can download it from the App Store or Google Play (search ‘Care Workforce’) or, if you don’t have a smartphone or tablet, you can access it on the Care Workforce website.
If you’d like to talk to someone about how you’re feeling, call the social care staff helpline (provided by Samaritans) on 0300 131 7000 or text FRONTLINE to 85258. You can also get free, confidential bereavement support from Hospice UK by calling 0300 303 4434.
Going home checklist for care workers
Watch this video about the checklist on the Healthy London Partnership YouTube channel
And remember, you can call 0300 131 7000 or text FRONTLINE to 85258 to talk to someone about how you’re feeling or call 0300 303 4434 for free, confidential bereavement support. A series of NHS-led webinars focused on supporting the emotional health and wellbeing of health and care workers during the COVID-19 pandemic has also been developed. Visit the Thrive LDN website to access the Keeping Well for Health and Care Workers webinars.
As someone working in social care, you have the knowledge and skills to limit the spread of infection but you might still worry about getting ill if you come into contact with someone who has coronavirus.
You might feel under pressure dealing with coronavirus so it’s important that you find ways to look after yourself, manage your stress levels and help your colleagues to do the same. Try to provide a listening ear and remind each other that you’ll get through this together.
After a busy shift, you might find it difficult to switch off and unwind but it’s vital that you get enough sleep.
Looking after someone who is seriously ill or dying is very difficult, especially if you have been caring for them for some time and know them and their family well. Take a moment to acknowledge how you feel and remember, there is no right or wrong way to feel. You might find that you experience a range of emotions, including sadness, shock, anger, numbness and even guilt, and move between these feelings at different times.
It’s vital that anyone with symptoms of coronavirus, including care professionals, self-isolates in accordance with the official advice. Being at home might be challenging but there are some things you can do to help protect your mental wellbeing.
You might be worried about your family’s health, your children’s education and your household finances at this time. If you’re living apart from your family, you might also be concerned about the effect this separation is having on them.
Unfortunately, some of you might experience a negative reaction by members of your community due to stigma or fear.
Try to get your information from your employer and the NHS and Government websites only and limit how many times a day you check the news and social media.
Other useful resources