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What can you do to help during the coronavirus outbreak? 

13 May 2020

Figures show that within one month the number of NHS staff who responded to the government’s plea to help during the pandemic exceeded 20,000. Many of these people have returned from retirement while others have re-entered the workforce from other avenues to help in the fight against the virus. Our efforts must now shift to help social carers and social care nurses return to work so that they can come together with the other healthcare professionals that are supporting the 1.5 million people identified as most vulnerable in the UK.

The responsibility for the care and wellbeing of society’s most vulnerable does not fall entirely on our healthcare professionals. In fact, there is so much that the British public can do to show their support – drop off prescriptions, donate food and reach out to people who may be suffering from loneliness.

We can all do our part to help during the coronavirus outbreak and together we can make sure that no one struggles alone. Read on to find out how you can help and for advice on returning to work in the social care sector.

How carers and nurses can help

To date there are 1.49 million people employed by the UK’s adult social care sector, however, there’s an undoubtable need for more skilled workers to join in the fight against the virus particularly as many support workers are unable to work while the risk of infection remains high. This has led many carers and nurses to begin actively looking to return to work and support the frontline effort.

Though the pandemic has put considerable pressure on social care organisations, Helen Whately - Minister of State for Care - aptly highlighted that the coronavirus outbreak has reminded us that “the care sector is a vital part of our society”. In the last century, there’s never been a more pressing need for health and social care services to come together. It’s the collective effort of these healthcare providers that will help us pull through and limit the suffering in our society.

Returning to care work

No matter whether you’ve taken a break from the social care sector for months or years it will be a transition to return to work, but there’s never been more support for those who want to help. To alleviate any self-doubt and help make the transition as smooth as possible here are some useful resources:

Identify your strengths and areas of interest

Though the call for care workers to return to help in the fight against coronavirus is an urgent one, you should offer your help to the areas where it’s most needed. The National Careers Service has designed a Skills Health Check assessment with quizzes and activities which will give insight into where your strengths lie and help you understand which role would suit you. This can be particularly useful for those who are returning to social care after a considerable break.

Familiarise yourself with habits that protect your mental health

Before returning to care work it’s important that you practice techniques that protect your mental health and psychosocial wellbeing. Though this outbreak may present challenges that our care sector has not seen before you can still draw on coping mechanisms that have helped during difficult times in the past and adapt them to the current situation. For some this may mean allocating 20 minutes a day to meditation or making sure you stay connected with your friends and family.

Read up on the adult social care action plan

It’s understandable to be concerned about what social care settings are doing to prevent the spread, what equipment will be provided to keep you safe from infection and how the government is helping the workforce. All this information and much more can be found in the Department of Health & Social Care’s COVID-19 action plan for adult social care.

Access up to date information for registered nurses 

Though the situation is changing daily, Skills for Care are continuously revising their COVID-19 updates for registered nurses page to keep nurses updated. This page is a hub of information for topics such as how COVID-19 is affecting care homes, temporary registration and gives access to e-learning modules.

Whether you work in the social care sector or are interested in helping the most vulnerable people in our society there is so much that you can do. Together we can limit the suffering in our communities.

Tips for those not working in the sector

If you don’t work in social care or social nursing, you can still have a part to play in helping society get through this pandemic. Here’s how you can help during the coronavirus outbreak:

Volunteer with a local group

Volunteer with your local group to help people who cannot leaves their homes. These mutual aid groups and corona response teams are divided into smaller local teams so you’ll be helping those living in your neighbourhood and be comforted knowing that no one in your community is struggling through this outbreak alone. The support you’ll offer will range from dropping off food and prescriptions to offering a friendly phone call.

Donate to foodbanks

In 2019, 1.6 million people relied on food parcels from the Trussel Trust and the economic impact of this outbreak will see many more people using this service as a lifeline. The UK public is being urged to find out how they can get involved with the Trust – the largest foodbank network in the UK – and help those struggling at this time.

Become an Age UK digital buddy

As our elderly face several months ahead with limited social interaction they find themselves suddenly cut off from the outside world and this is especially worrying for those who aren’t experienced with technology. You can become a digital buddy and help our elderly population to reconnect with the world around them. After all, there’s never been a more important time to help in the Campaign to End Loneliness.

Reach out 

Remember that doing your part to help during the coronavirus outbreak is also about reaching out to friends, family and colleagues. The WHO has released a guide to managing your mental health during COVID-19 which has some extremely helpful advice for those who are isolating, those caring for children and message for healthcare workers. Pass this helpful useful resource onto someone who you think needs it.

Rediscover your passion for social care with Charles Hunter

Do you have experience working for in the social care sector? If so then we need you! Now more than ever we need social carers, social workers and nurses to help the sector provide the level of care that people deserve. We understand that returning to work may bring about anxieties which is why we ask you to contact us – we can help. 

If you’re ready to apply you can browse our current social care jobs or take a look at our vacancies in social work.