Friday, March 5, 2021
Home CORONAVIRUS My working week: 'I worried I'd passed on Covid-19 to a woman...

My working week: ‘I worried I’d passed on Covid-19 to a woman I was supporting’


I am a community support worker for people with mental health issues, a learning disability or both. I focus on helping people to become more independent of social care services.

I took the weekend off but life for the people I support continues, and much of Monday is spent catching up and seeing how the people I support have got on. Some of them have been using our weekend support line so I follow up on those. Many people live on their own and are feeling really isolated.

In the afternoon, I do an online training course on dealing with death. It is emotional; we have lost some of the people we support during lockdown and it has affected us all.

Sally died of a heart attack. She was conscious when they took her in the ambulance. I wanted to hold her hand and go with her but I couldn’t. I spent nights worrying that I might have passed Covid-19 into her house through her shopping delivery. They found that she did not have coronavirus, but it does not make it any easier.

Sally’s death was a month ago and she still has not had a funeral. The other people we support are devastated. We had to tell them over the phone. We couldn’t comfort them. Somehow that was even harder than my own grief. I understand now how difficult this is for the thousands of families who have lost someone they love.


I spend much of my morning supporting Barry, who has been offered his first tenancy after living with an elderly relative who moved into a care home. The trouble is that Barry has lost most of his ID papers. Usually, I would sit with him while he makes calls to sort out his papers. Now I ring him instead and, using the add call facility on my phone, we speak to the relevant authorities together. I have plenty of time to catch up with him while we wait to be connected.

Later, I have supervision with my manager using video chat. This lockdown has made me feel isolated from the rest of my team so I value this face-to-face time. It is nice to have some time to think about my own wellbeing.


I hold an online community hub with the people I support. We have a discussion and then do a quiz. This is a time to escape and I love how engaged and competitive people have become.

In the afternoon, I get out and do some socially distanced support outdoors. I’ve been itching to get out and it’s nice to see that people are pleased to see me.


I spend most of today talking to people on the phone about how they are getting on. I go to the supermarket with a man who has been shielding. It’s his first time in the supermarket since the system changed and he has been worrying about it; it feels unfamiliar.

It’s a long day today, and I am doing some cooking with someone this evening – over the phone. It’s strange at first but she puts me on speaker and talks me through what she is doing, and we have a good chat.


I go out shopping for some people who are still shielding. It feels like I am deskilling them after I previously spent a lot of time supporting them to shop independently.

I spend the afternoon finishing the saga of getting Valerie’s money back for the holiday she had planned for the end of June. After several weeks of to-ing and fro-ing, I’ve succeeded.

Later, I sit and try to relax but I feel guilty for not being able to visit the people I support. I worry whether I’ve done enough to help them understand what would happen if they get sick, without also frightening them. Then I start to panic about things going back to normal and keeping myself safe. Then I feel bad about putting myself first.

All names have been changed

If you would like to contribute to our My working week series about your job in public services, get in touch by emailing [email protected]


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