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
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