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Working as a caregiver has always been challenging — then came COVID-19

The pandemic has not only taken a physical and financial toll, it has heavily impacted our mental health. And for many paid caregivers in nursing homes, these last two years have been traumatic. 

Paige Hector is a social worker with almost 30 years in the post acute and long-term care setting. These days, her work focuses on education and staff development. 

Hector says things were always challenging in long-term care — then came COVID-19.

"Even though we're coming through the pandemic, if that's even the correct way to phrase that, we will always be carrying it with us. It's not going anywhere."

And many workers are still overwhelmed, frustrated and discouraged. Some were also traumatized by what they  endured.

"And in many instances have lost their purpose of why they came to this work to begin with," she said.

So in terms of solutions, Hector says more compassion and empathy is needed.

"When people don't have the time to pause and reflect and process at what has been grinding at them for literally years at this point; that has affected and changed their entire outlook, not just at work, but how they interact with their own families and in their own communities."

Senior field correspondent Kathy Ritchie has 20 years of experience reporting and writing stories for national and local media outlets — nearly a decade of it has been spent in public media.