The health and well-being of care workers must be taken into account as part of the UK’s social care reform
According to public and occupational health specialists at Imperial College London, the health and wellbeing needs of the social care workforce must be brought in line with the standards set for NHS staff as part of the reform of UK social care.
They write in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine that it’s impossible to know what’s going on with employee health and wellbeing across the fragmented care sector.
In the industry, there are an estimated 17,700 separate organizations that provide care. Social workers, like healthcare workers, come into close contact with patients who are at their most vulnerable. In contrast to healthcare employees, however, there is no government advice on worker health.
The government has promised to use the new health and social care levy to improve training and support in the care industry, as well as to reduce the high cost of care for individuals who require it.
Dr. Lara Shemtob, lead author and Honorary Clinical Research Fellow at Imperial College London’s School of Public Health, said: “Caregivers at the bottom of the organizational structure are the ones who are least safeguarded.” To protect caregivers and those they care for, a national approach to standards and auditing is required.
According to a new survey, it’s becoming more and more difficult for care providers to find and keep good employees, as well as keep their morale up.
Dr. Shemtob explained, “The necessity of baking occupational health into social care reform is twofold.” To begin, the fragmented sector requires consistent guidance on workforce health in order to protect employees and patients. Second, improving employee well-being and increasing the appeal of social care jobs will help to alleviate the labor shortage. “
According to the authors, there needs to be more attention paid to the health of workers in the care industry.
This includes things like an immunization program that protects both the workers and the patients, as well as emotional support for dealing with mentally ill or distressed patients, as well as the physical demands of personal care.
“Caregivers need ways to get help, guidelines for dealing with work illness, and policies that deal with absenteeism and presenteeism,” said Dr. Shemtob.