Caregivers are our unsung heroes. They are one of the critical pillars of our health systems. They play a crucial role in identifying the health and social care a patient needs. And despite that, they lack access to practical, social, emotional, and financial support. Hence, caregivers deserve your gratitude for the great work they have done. Some may think of caregiving as an easy responsibility, considering that any family member can be regarded as a caregiver. However, what they do not know is that caregivers are challenged every day. The challenges are not limited to physical ones but also mental and psychological ones. Their plates are filled with challenges.
The coronavirus pandemic is affecting every country and lives. It has put pressure on each one of us. And the caregiving practice is not exempted. Caregivers are met with yet another set of challenges. It is not enough that this job is time-consuming and life-changing; adding the pandemic to the mix, has made caregiving even grueling than before. Here are some determinants on how the pandemic heightened the challenges of caregivers.
Pandemic Causes Additional Strain
Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, health workers, such as caregivers, are expected to continue delivering complex care to individuals with serious illnesses. Caregivers are not only focusing on providing the best care needed but also fixate on their patients not to contract this deadly virus. The pandemic is a relentlessly evolving situation that increases the anxiety, stress, and uncertainty of caregivers. The pandemic has raised the stress levels of caregivers, affecting their mental health. The unpredictable and uncontrollable nature of the current pandemic has affected their ability to help with the patient’s physical needs. The feelings of failure of not being able to meet the patient’s needs can impact their self-esteem and sow doubts about their job. The pandemic causes overwhelming emotions to caregivers that may lead to depression. Thus, the pandemic has lived up to the public health emergency context it was given.
Pandemic Limits Interaction
The caregiving practice tends to lead caregivers to the path of feeling guilt and doubt. That being the case, caregivers need emotional support. Most of the time, they lean towards their families for this, but visiting their families is hard with the current pandemic. Everyone was forced to take precautionary measures, including social distancing. This is a necessary action the government has to enact just so that the disease does not spread out further. However, this has unintended consequences, which are isolation and loneliness. It is a fact that technology can help with these limited interactions, especially with all the apps you can use to communicate.
Nonetheless, there is a considerable difference between physical and online interaction. Imagine how caregivers are already struggling to ask for help prior to the pandemic. Now, they are even more reluctant to ask for one as they fear contracting and transmitting the virus to themselves and their patients.
Pandemic Adds Greater Financial Strain
According to statistics, approximately 61% of caregivers are experiencing financial strain because of unemployment and out-of-pocket medical expenses in the United States alone. This pandemic has undoubtedly increased this strain in caregiving. Caregivers are at risk of losing their jobs. Consequently, they will lose their health insurance coverage that is supporting their families. On the other hand, caregivers who take care of family members receive little to no cash payment in return for their help. They, too, face financial strain. Many family caregivers have other jobs that may force them to work outside their homes. They are at risk of exposing the entire household to the virus. The tendency is these family caregivers have to let go one for another. If they chose to care for their loved ones, they would have to deal with expenses and little money to pay care expenses.