Study launched to establish the impact of Covid-19 on health of Wales' care workers

The pandemic is thought to have had a major impact on the health of the 20,000 workers who offer domiciliary care. Credit: PA Images

A study has been launched to establish the risk of Covid-19 to domiciliary care workers across Wales.

The pandemic is thought to have had a significant impact on the health of 20,000 workers offering care to the elderly or people with life-limiting conditions in their homes.

The study, led by Cardiff University, will assess the health of public and private care workers, including Covid-19 infection itself, mental health and other illnesses.

Earlier this year, carers told ITV News they were under extreme pressure with extra responsibilities due to a lack of district nurses and GPs available to see patients in the community.

Health professionals have also issued stark warnings about the potential crisis if carers' mental health needs aren't addressed.

One survey found a third of social workers are considering quitting their job. Credit: PA Images

The researchers will combine routine health data and interviews with domiciliary care workers to build an overall picture of how these workers have fared during the pandemic.

The aim is to help inform public health initiatives for safer working practices and additional support for staff both in Wales and other UK nations.

The Cardiff University professor leading the study said existing data has already shown domiciliary care workers are at a a higher risk of Covid-19 than other healthcare workers.

"While many people have worked from home during the pandemic, domiciliary care workers have continued working to help and support some of the most vulnerable people in our society right through this unprecedented time," Professor Mike Robling said.

"They are a large and quite vulnerable population of workers who are highly skilled, and the challenges they face are well known.

"We hope our work will help to improve safety and health for this vital UK workforce so they can continue to provide this essential service."

The 18-month study will see thirty workers interviewed about their experiences, including on PPE and any concerns over working practices or what they are being asked to do.