When we interviewed Lisa last summer, her work in a nursing home put her at the center of the stress and fatality of the pandemic. She was working increased hours with inadequate protection and with the intense additional emotional burden of being the only contact of residents during the lockdown. Unfortunately, when we checked in this summer, we learned that work remains especially hard.
Though visitation restrictions have been loosened, nursing home workers are still taking on an increased emotional burden.
“Some family members are afraid to come in because they’re afraid of catching Covid or bringing it in from the community to their loved ones.”
She continued noting that staff “are still taking on the role of being mom, dad, brother, sister, grandma for a lot of our residents.”
Furthermore, while PPE stocks are higher than they were last year, workers are still limited and rationed daily. Thus, Lisa is still taking precautions to avoid transmitting Covid to vulnerable and at-risk family members.
“Before Covid hit I didn’t think about coming home and staying in my uniform, now I don’t even bring my uniform into my house… My shoes get sprayed down with Lysol and left in the garage… my car is sprayed down with Lysol before and after I get out, because I do have a husband with an autoimmune disorder and a granddaughter with autism that I don’t want to catch this stuff.”
Helping Those in Need
Despite the difficulties, Lisa is motivated to help those in need and continue providing necessary care.
“There is a national shortage of CNA’s and nurses for a reason, because it is very dangerous… I love to take care of them, you know that’s my job. If I didn’t like this job, didn’t love this job, I wouldn’t be doing it.”
She pleaded with her employer to recognize the situation her and her coworkers were in, and to show a greater appreciation of them.
“Show us you care about us and the work we’re doing… You know, they’re sitting up there in an office somewhere, they’re not actually on the floor. If you want to learn about our jobs come down to the actual floor and start trying to do patient care with one aide for 12 residents.”