Two-thirds of care home staff have reported mental health problems since start of pandemic

Two-thirds of care home staff have reported mental health problems since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a survey in one city.

The Sheffield Care Association (SCA) said anxiety was cited as the most common complaint followed by depression – or a mixture of anxiety and depression – and stress.

The association surveyed managers at 25 homes across Sheffield, representing 20% of all care beds in the city.

The proportion of their staff reporting mental health problems ranged from one employee to 90% of the team, the SCA said, with the majority saying that 10-20% of their workforce had approached them with concerns.

It said the survey also showed that 36% of care homes have seen an increase in mental health problems among their residents, including depression and anxiety.

And a similar proportion said families of residents had told them that they were also experiencing poor mental health as a result of the pandemic.

SCA chair Nicola Richards (pictured), who is managing director of Palms Row Health Care in Sheffield, said: “Sadly, care homes have taken the full force of the impact of this pandemic and the impact on the mental health of care home staff has been massive.

“I’m extremely proud of all my staff and the way they have responded to this horrific period but I’m not surprised that many of them, along with carers throughout the city, are struggling with their mental health and I fear we may see experienced staff exit the sector as they struggle to cope.

“They have spent the last four months fighting for residents’ lives while putting their own health at risk despite every safety precaution being taken within the homes.”

Ms Richards added: “This is a workforce that has made the wellbeing of the most vulnerable people in our society a priority and sacrificed time with their own families in order to protect them.

“They’ve also experienced unimaginable heartache after seeing residents die in extreme circumstances and also the higher death toll in some care homes across the country.

“They’re understandably exhausted and we as a society need to repay our debt to them and recognise what they’ve been through.”

Last week, the SCA released data from the same survey which revealed that a third of all care home beds in the city could face closure in a matter of weeks due to funding concerns.

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