The pandemic has ‘opened’ the public’s eyes to the vital role that domiciliary care workers play, MPs have heard.
Members of the health and social care select committee heard yesterday (20 October) from Jo Da Silva, a domiciliary care worker from Dorset, who is employed by Agincare.
Ms Da Silva said care workers like herself saw a ‘massive increase’ in the number of extra visits needed at the start of the pandemic, as they took on extra duties.
She added she has also received a good level of support from her employers, Agincare and that the pandemic brought a lot of people in her profession together.
‘We supported each other,’ she told the MPs. ‘At the end of the day and in our line of work, we have a duty of care. It is our job.
Ms Da Silva said the pandemic has also ‘opened the eyes’ of many people to ‘what we actually do as care workers’.
‘It’s not just personal care,’ she told MPs. ‘A lot of our service users have relied on us to take the role of some of their family members. We’ve been doing extra shopping duties and getting medication.
‘We’ve taken on many extra duties. We’re all well aware that it was difficult to get in contact with GPS and district nurses. We were asked at certain times to maybe do a certain task that would have required a district nurse.
‘I know key workers were allocated time slots [at supermarkets], but as domiciliary care workers that did not necessarily work for all of us. We were having to juggle our own work schedules and sometimes we worked outside of our hours to do service users’ shopping, because they had they were like a shielding or the had no family members.’
When asked what could be done to prevent burn out in the social care sector, she said the most important factor was recognition.
‘We’ve gone above and beyond really what our jobs should entail,’ she replied. ‘We’ve had to, because of COVID. To be on par with other people would mean more than anything.
‘We have a duty to care and we do this job for a reason. So, I think the main thing is to be recognised.’
Photo Credit – Geralt (Pixabay)