The abuse and wellbeing of long-term care workers in the COVID-19 era: Evidence from the UK

Abstract for the International workshop on COVID-19 and Long-Term Care systems: What have we learnt and what policies do we need to strengthen LTC systems?, 6 and 7th December 2021

Presenters: Eirini-Christina Saloniki (University College London, UK) and Shereen Hussein (London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, UK)

Abstract

The social care workforce faced unprecedented challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, characterised by adverse working conditions, including low pay, high workload, and disproportional staff shortages. While the pandemic exacerbated these conditions, it also brought concerns about mistreatment of the workforce in the form of abuse – by co-workers, service users, their families, and the public. Such experiences can vary depending on personal and work characteristics, particularly affecting minority ethnic groups. They can subsequently impact workers’ wellbeing and the sector overall (in the form of quits).

This presentation will draw on findings from the first wave of a longitudinal survey as part of the Retention and Sustainability of Social Care Workforce (RESSCW) project. The analysis was conducted on 1,037 UK valid responses received between April and June 2021 and examined the impact of COVID-19 on workers’ working conditions, general health and wellbeing, and intentions to leave the employer and sector altogether. The findings highlight worrying experiences of abuse amongst the survey respondents, which vary significantly by nationality, ethnicity and care settings. The analysis further showcases the negative impact of experiencing abuse on work-life balance (and wellbeing more broadly) and intentions to quit whilst emphasising the need for targeted measures that promote workers’ physical, emotional and financial wellbeing.

Co-authors:

Shereen Hussein (London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine), Grace Collins (University of Kent), Catherine Marchand (University of Kent) and the RESSCW research team

To find out more about this project:

COVID-19 and the wellbeing of the adult social care workforce: Evidence from the UK (Pulse survey findings)

Early findings from a social care workers’ longitudinal survey (Wave 1): COVID-19 implications (Longitudinal survey; wave one early findings)

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