I am very pleased to be writing to support Professional Care Workers Day being held on the 4th September.
It might be stating the obvious to say that care workers are the life-blood and heart of all the care services which are delivered by any provider across Scotland. This day is an opportunity for wider society not only to recognise their invaluable role but to acknowledge that we need to do a lot more to support them in their work.
So it is no accident that the theme of the day this year is ‘well-being.’
Scottish Care has been at the forefront in highlighting the pressures which our care staff are working under which impacts on their personal health both mentally and physically. We recognise that there is an intimate relationship between how someone is supported to do their job and how they feel. That is why we have consistently called for a distinct national fund and resource which is dedicated to the support and welfare of social care staff. Such a resource would foster the necessary work that needs to happen to for instance support the hundreds of staff who struggle with issues of mental distress caused by continually caring, by encountering death and loss on a daily basis and dealing with the distress of others in facing their illness and decline. Such a fund could develop real support and intervention on the issue of bereavement, on how you look after your physical health in what is an arduous and demanding physical job, or in developing specific resources focussed on caring for those with the continual mental strain of neurological conditions such as dementia.
There is now boundless evidence to show the relationship between staff retention and the direct meeting of the well-being needs of staff.
We all need today to think of how we can best recognise and value those at the care face. Is it just a simple hello and thank you as you pass someone who walks between visits? Is it as a shopkeeper giving a reduction to care staff or a simple gift on this day? Is it as transport companies allowing a day of free travel? Is it as a beauty therapist or physiotherapist or a money and advice worker giving a free session or consultation? Let’s come up with some good ideas!
So for providers the organisers of this day are asking you to get involved and hold your own celebrations. Last year they received great pictures of cards, gift bags, tea and drinks parties. People really showed their staff that their work is valued, and celebrated working as teams and providing great care.
What will you do to demonstrate the value and recognition you place on the care worker?
So let us all celebrate everything that is good about people who work in care with the second annual Professional Care Workers' Day.
Tweet and use the hashtag #ProfessionalCareWorkersDay.