Time for support not stigma for care homes

 Cheryl Henderson 20 May 2020

Care home residents and staff are all facing the same fear and confusion as the rest of the population. They also need our recognition and appreciation for what they are going through during the COVID-19 pandemic, says Cheryl Henderson.

Young hands holding an old lady's hands
Whilst people are, quite rightly, championing and cheering for NHS workers, as well as thanking supermarket and chemist shops for being open, one sector appeared forgotten for weeks. That is until the world woke up to 'bad news stories' of care homes. This included one in Spain where, it appeared that all the staff had abandoned the residents and left them to die.

COVID-19 has indeed changed the world as we know it and has claimed far too many lives. Within this number are many older people who were already living with underlying conditions. There are, of course, many survivors, however we don't hear as much about them, as their journey is not quite so newsworthy.

Care homes by necessity, have many people living in a confined space and, like your own household, there is a higher likelihood of spread, no matter what is done.

There should be no stigma for any care home that has positive cases, rather a positive recognition for all care home workers. This includes the huge army of health care support workers, who are working tirelessly in homes both directly with COVID-19 or with the potential that this could come in at any time. Although carers are trained to a certain extent, no one has been trained, or indeed seen this level of infection previously. Many are also new to the role and have never encountered death or illness. Training and above all support are essential to help motivate and nurture the 'backbone' of care homes.
These people go in day after day, and by the very nature of their job, often can't socially distance from those they are caring for. They are facing this head on with, if they are lucky, a couple of bits of plastic and paper to protect themselves, from something that could potentially kill them ... and they do it all with a smile! 
As well as juggling the same issues and worries others have, they are supporting each other and those they care for, who are also isolated, frightened, scared and confused.
So let's doff our caps to health care support workers everywhere, remembering all they are doing - true heroes!

Cheryl Henderson

Cheryl Henderson

Education and Dementia Co-ordinator, Elder Homes Ltd

Cheryl Henderson has worked for Elder Homes Ltd for nine years where she is Education and Dementia Co-ordinator.

Page last updated - 21/05/2020