For the first time, the ‘invisible line’ that separates patients and caregivers was beginning to blur and a lot of the anxiety, uncertainty and stress from the pandemic that was being felt by patients, was also impacting the personal lives of caregivers.
I was actually on holiday in the United States just as the COVID-19 crisis started to escalate in early March. As soon as I returned home, the country went into lockdown and I was required to quarantine at home for two weeks.
After the quarantine period, my partner began working from home (which our little dog was very happy about) and I returned to work. I remember there being a lot of anxiety and uncertainty among staff and patients during this time, as it was a whole new situation that we never had to navigate before.
For the first time, the ‘invisible line’ that separates patients and caregivers was beginning to blur and a lot of the anxiety, uncertainty and stress from the pandemic that was being felt by patients, was also impacting the personal lives of caregivers. Family members were losing employment, families and friends were being separated, and there was a degree of uncertainty of the future.
Something I learnt was not to take the little things in life for granted. All of the sudden, it was a luxury to be able to take my dog for a walk to the local park, to go to the coffee shop to get a takeaway coffee, even being able to leave the house for some exercise became a luxury. It also made me really appreciate those who are most important in my life.
In my role as a social worker, I definitely feel there has been a massive increase in people needing more psychosocial support. So many people have lost jobs, lost relationships, lost homes, lost connection to their communities. I think we will be seeing the repercussions of the pandemic for a long time to come.
My advice to people would be to not feel embarrassed or ashamed to reach out for help or advice if you need it, there are so many services and supports in the community that many people may not be aware of, sometimes the hardest part is just starting that process of asking for help.
Caregivers of COVID
The Caregivers of COVID series shares the stories and experiences at St John of God Health Care that made most of 2020 so extraordinary.