While death rates, intensive care cases and lockdowns have seized the headlines social workers like Kisharon’s Asa Govrin have been quietly helping those afflicted, yet forgotten, during the pandemic.
Staff working under relentless and intense pressure and families of those Kisharon supports, separated during the restrictions, all have justified anxieties, said Israel-born Asa, speaking on Social Work Day this week (16th March).
Living with lockdown long-term has taken its toll on mental health and many have talked freely and in confidence about their difficulties.
Asa said: “As Coronavirus peaked staff were understandably concerned about their own health and wellbeing. Many needed to travel long distances for work, on public transport and had little time off. This was on top of worries about their own families, coping with the new challenges for people in our care, and giving support to their families too.
“Everyone felt more isolated and alone, but the weekly sessions run at every supported living site weekly at the start of the pandemic brought home that we work as a team. Everyone was listened to, and in confidence. Staff can support each other when they know who’s had a bad week.
“Support could be practical. Often IT could help with a communication issue or HR to ease salary worries for those who fell sick.”
The spotlight often fell on the individuals staff supported. Talking over a new approach could help those who had been affected badly by lockdown restrictions.
Having zero communication with learning disabled children was, on occasion, a tipping point for parents, particularly when Zoom or other face to face calls caused distress.
Some parents were vulnerable and could not see or visit their children. Several did not see or talk to them for months until restrictions were eased.
Asa said: “For many parents, this was the main issue. Communication with supported living staff was critical during this time.”
Asa, who heaped praise on Kisharon’s “amazing” staff, is optimistic at the reduced Covid infection rates, adding that even if the virus surges in the future, we are far better prepared to deal with it.
To find out more about Kisharon Supported Living visit: www.kisharon.org.uk/our-services/support/adult-supported-living or call 020 3209 1160