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Care home staff face mental health crisis due to Covid-19

by Lisa Carr

New data from Sheffield Care Association (SCA) has shown that two thirds of care home staff have reported mental health problems since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. [1]

Anxiety was cited as the most common illness followed by depression (or a mixture of anxiety and depression) and stress. 

Care home providers said the proportion of staff reporting mental health problems ranged from one staff member to 90% of the team with the majority saying that 10-20% of their workforce had approached them with concerns about their mental health.[2]

The data also showed that over a third (36%) of care homes have seen an increase in mental health problems among their residents, including depression and anxiety. The same percentage had been contacted by families of residents who had told them that they were also experiencing poor mental health as a result of the pandemic.[3]

Providers have concerns for the future wellbeing of their workforce with almost three-quarters (72%) stating that they think they may see an increase in mental health problems after this pandemic from residents, staff and families.[4]

Nicola Richards, Managing Director of Palms Row Health Care and Chair of the Sheffield Care Association said:

“Sadly, care homes have taken the full force of the impact of this pandemic and the impact on the mental health of care home staff has been massive.

“I’m extremely proud of all my staff and the way they have responded to this horrific period but I’m not surprised that many of them, along with carers throughout the city, are struggling with their mental health and I fear we may see experienced staff exit the sector as they struggle to cope. 

“They have spent the last four months fighting for residents’ lives while putting their own health at risk despite every safety precaution being taken within the homes. 

“This is a workforce that has made the wellbeing of the most vulnerable people in our society a priority and sacrificed time with their own families in order to protect them. 

“They’ve also experienced unimaginable heartache after seeing residents die in extreme circumstances and also the higher death toll in some care homes across the country.

“They’re understandably exhausted and we as a society need to repay our debt to them and recognise what they’ve been through.” 

SCA surveyed members and had responses from 22 care home providers across the city, equating to 20% of the care beds in the city. Last week the SCA released data from the same survey which revealed that a third of all care home beds in the city could face closure in a matter of weeks [5].

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