Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Older People Mary Butler TD has expressed further concern about the situation of care workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

She says the findings of a recent report from the HCA and Carers are very worrying. The study examined experiences of carers and care assistants working in nursing homes, hospitals, homecare, hospice, residential care and day care settings.

“Care workers are becoming increasingly anxious about the mental and physical well-being of those they’re caring for, particularly those who have had their care packages suspended because of cocooning”, said Deputy Butler.

“As we know, it is the oldest, the most vulnerable and the most dependent that have suffered the most in this pandemic and the experience of the people looking after them is something that must be at the forefront of our thoughts. Many carers and care assistants have been deeply impacted by the deaths in nursing homes and other residential care settings.

“One clear message that is coming through is the fear that is being experienced by carers – fear of the unknown, fear of unwitting contact with asymptomatic people, fear of infecting their families, and fear of working without proper PPE.

“We need to do all we can to help these care workers during this crisis as they are engaging in very stressful situations on a daily basis. The continuing patchy nature of PPE supply, especially outside of hospital settings, needs to be tackled. As these workers carry on caring in the most difficult of circumstances we need to remember our duty to them and ensure they are properly equipped to do their jobs safely.”