While the pandemic is far from being over, the repercussions of the global phenomenon are becoming more and more noticeable. The latest research highlights one such repercussion that about half of all care home workers in the north of Italy experience. Post-traumatic stress as well as anxiety has become common among such workers ever since they dealt with the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
As most of us are aware that the coronavirus transmission took place thoroughly through both northern parts of Italy and most of Europe, while this was happening most of the care home workers were pushed to their max since Italy’s population was full of elderly individuals. The care units also became filled with coronavirus patients and there began Italy’s struggle with the virus.
During the initial days of the pandemic, there was more awareness surrounding the health priorities of doctors and first responders but very less light could be shed on the mental health of the cleaners, caterers, and nurses at care homes. These people for the most part suffered silently.
The researchers on the study therefore carried out anonymous surveys in both Britain and Italy. The survey involved a thousand care home workers, it aimed to evaluate the levels of anxiety and stress in these workers post months of working for ill residents.
Through the survey, they discovered that 43% of all respondents checked all the boxes that indicated they may be suffering from both post-traumatic stress disorder as well as anxiety.
Elena Rusconi is from the University of Trento. Regarding the survey, she says though they were the team was aware that there could be some evidence they did not expect the situation to be this grave.
The research is published in the Royal Society Open Science. During the initial wave, it was found that care workers had been in adverse conditions. While health staff working in emergency units deploy a certain degree of medical apathy, care home workers are required and needed to develop strong bonds with those in their care. Therefore when their residents get sicker or sometimes die, it affects them emotionally and has a great effect on their mental health.
Adding more to the problems they were already dealing with, they also had to connect families with their residents because most people could not see their families since the pandemic was in full force and the threats were many.
Often these workers had very little access to personal protective equipment as well as protective material during the height of the crisis.
Although such workers deployed commendable dedication and skills, they often were not appreciated for what they did, says Rusconi.
Rusconi notes that such workers deal with the part of the population we don’t put much thought to because we don’t want to feel feelings of guilt.
It is important to understand however how serious a condition like post-traumatic stress disorder can mean for the mental well-being of a person who has to work a job that requires them to be pleasant and caring all the time.
She also notes that most caretakers in Italy were foreign or had been residing in the country to work a job that was lesser in importance than let’s say nurses of doctors working in hospitals.
Therefore as outbreaks reappear in Europe, researchers urge that psychological conditions of such workers be evaluated and looked into so their well-being too can be ensured.