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Meeting Sharna

Meeting Sharna, Social Worker
I’m a hospital-based social worker. And I work in a very busy general hospital. And usually, I conduct care after assessments, in-depth assessments about people’s needs with them, their family members. And with the input of professionals as well. If that person’s suffering confusion, or there might be any concerns regarding their capacity to make certain decisions, I’ll do mental capacity assessments, [INAUDIBLE] interest decisions. Sometimes I’m also involved in safeguarding inquiries. But usually, it’s one-to-one work with patients to ascertain how they feel about their hospital admission. How it’s impacted on them looking after themselves. And how they feel, really. And what support they would like in the community, usually, whether that’s a care home or returning to their home.
To kind of make them feel better. I think a lot of people when they come into hospital are a point of crisis. And there’s been a significant change in their needs, which is really difficult for them to get their head around. COVID has changed how I work at the hospital because I’m having a lot of less face-to-face work with patients. And also, patients are getting a lot less choice and control over where they’re going to go once they get better. Because we have to make sure that there’s enough beds in a hospital to accommodate inflow of patients who’ve got COVID. So that’s being quite difficult.
I do really sympathise with patients because it must be really difficult to be, obviously, and distressed in a hospital, not really understanding what’s happening, or what’s wrong with you to then be told that you’re medically fit for discharge. And being told this is the option that you’ve been given based on information about you. So you could be going to a care home that you’ve never seen in a different area that you didn’t know. So that must be very distressing. But then we have to take into account individual’s needs, but also the needs of the community as a whole. So it’s a really difficult balance. These new guidelines have been released by the government. And they’re changing regularly, even daily.
So recently, I was off on some annual leave for a couple of days. And I came back, and the guidelines were completely different. So there is a really steady flow of changes. And you’re really battling to keep up-to-date with what you should be telling patients, and what you should be doing. And what’s the best practise that you can do within the constraints.

In this video, we meet Sharna, a Social Worker from the UK. She talks about some of the ways her job changed during the pandemic and about the emotional impact of the work.

We’ll hear from Sharna again in Week 2 when we apply our learning in the coming steps to the daily lives of patients and front-line workers.

Do any of you work in the same or similar fields to Sharna? Have any of Sharna’s experiences resonated with your own?

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