Boosting staff morale in the time of COVID-19: the aged care sector example
Aged care workers need appreciation in these hard times from their upper management.
COVID-19 has shaken every industry to their core. In times like these, healthcare workers become the frontline of action. Around the world, we have seen how the public are appreciating the people who continue to care for our society.
Among these healthcare workers are aged care staff. Although aged care is not an obvious industry involved in the pandemic, it is one of the most vulnerable.
The pandemic has exhibited an incredibly high mortality rate in the elderly and those who have other health conditions. This includes 100% of aged care residents. Therefore, aged care staff have had to work doubly hard to protect the residents who call the facility their home.
The challenge with aged care is that the residents often have limited mobility and social interactions. Therefore, they rely heavily on the physical and mental support of their carers and other staff members. Social distancing is simply not an option for the residents and the staff.
Most facilities have had to stop families from visiting their elderly loved ones. This means staff have needed to step up and take on the role of a “family member” for residents.
With a pandemic as contagious as COVID-19, if one resident contracts the virus, it can spread like wildfire throughout the whole facility. The potential repercussions are unimaginable.
This field relies on the work of nurses and trained carers who have to put the residents’ care and needs first. The staff risk their health to help others in need.
The mental health burden
In some cases, aged care staff need to isolate from their own families to protect themselves and the residents from COVID-19. This is to prevent other members of their households transmitting the virus to aged care workers, who may unintentionally pass it on to residents.
Aged care staff have been told to be vigilant in their social distancing. While necessary, this can impact on their mental and emotional health.
While aged care staff are responsible for the care of the residents, it is the responsibly of the organisation and employer to care for their staff.
Aged care workers understand the value of their work. They do it because they love helping people. But do they feel valued by their management?
With the extra pressure they are under and stress of COVID-19, this can lead to lower staff morale. This can negatively impact their work, which is what every organisation wants to avoid.
Their managers and employers are indisputably proud of how the aged care workforce has stepped up.
A simple thank you, appreciation, support message can be worth its weight in gold in a time like this.
This builds confidence in themselves and in their employers, and inspires them to keep going when they feel like it is all becoming too much.
Aged care workers need appreciation in these hard times from their upper management. How are you communicating this to them?
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