Working, living, and dying in Covid times: Perspectives from frontline residential care workers in the UK

Briggs, Daniel, Telford, Luke, Lloyd, Anthony and Ellis, Anthony (2021) Working, living, and dying in Covid times: Perspectives from frontline residential care workers in the UK. Safer Communities, 20 (3). pp. 208-222. ISSN 1757-8043

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The paper offers nuanced accounts on the Covid-19 pandemic from the perspective of frontline care workers. With the arrival of the virus in the UK, these workers reported a lack of appropriate guidance and basic provisions such as personal protective equipment (PPE), but also described an intensification of stress, workload pressures and mental health problems. As more and more workers went off ill – largely in the absence of appropriate guidance and equipment – delays were experienced in residents’ most basic needs such as access to food, water and medication. The workers relay how residents were unable to understand the concept of social distancing and, in the confusion and chaos, many experienced an exacerbation of their dementia and general health problems and died of dehydration, delirium and loneliness. The workers made some recognition that Covid-19 was in-part responsible for their declining health and the sad passing of some, but also suggest that this was also due to the sudden disruptions of their daily lives and prohibitions on seeing family and loved ones due to governmental restrictions. The workers similarly critiqued practices such as the blanket use of DNRs and the addition of ‘Covid-19’ to the residents’ death certificates undertaken in the absence of tests. The findings also show how, taken together, the care worker predicament was made even more precarious by personal family difficulties and challenges, often relating to the same government restrictions.

Keywords:Covid-19, Adult Social Care, Neo-liberalism
Subjects:L Social studies > L300 Sociology
L Social studies > L400 Social Policy
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Social & Political Sciences
ID Code:47905
Deposited On:01 Feb 2022 15:17

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