National Caregivers Day 2021 will recognise the hard work and dedication of carers of all kinds.

Friday February 19 marks the day to celebrate all carers and their work across the country.

Caregiving is anything from delivering medical aid to personal assistance and emotional support.

Sarah Cheetham, Manager of Helping Hands Care Home in Liverpool said:

“Caring for others just comes naturally to me, so it doesn’t feel like a job. As a caregiver, you just feel lucky that there are people who are putting their absolute trust in you to enhance their home living, and it’s a real honour.”

Care homes have been under particular strain over the last 12 months during the pandemic and have dealt with everything from PPE shortages to coronavirus outbreaks.

Sarah said that the past year has been the hardest in her seven-year career in care homes – but also her most rewarding.

She said: “I joined care because I wanted to be a comfort to people; I wanted to be a shoulder to cry on, an arm to lean on and a helping hand to hold. Throughout the pandemic, we’ve been so much more than that.

“We’ve comforted those who were alone and scared, we’ve been consistent in a world of uncertainty, and we’ve been an extended family when loved ones have been unable to visit.”

At a time when medical care is so crucial, healthcare staff are also being recognised and celebrated on National Caregivers Day.

Dr Colin Jones is a Senior Lecturer at the Nursing and Allied Health school at LJMU and has worked in as a nurse for 41 years.

He spoke about the rewards of a healthcare career.

Colin said: “The nature of people makes [nursing] so dynamic. Seeing people survive against all odds and being part of the team that contributes towards getting that person better and then seeing them recovering – it’s just amazing.”

He admitted that the pandemic has presented a completely unique and changed environment for clinical care which has been difficult.

Colin said: “You’re not spinning ten plates, you’re spinning a hundred plates. People are very tired, they’re absolutely shattered. A lot of healthcare staff are working 12 hour shifts, you’re hot, the masks are so tight and you know you’re back in again tomorrow. It’s tough.”

But the pandemic has affirmed the importance of healthcare for Colin and it has seemed to inspire many others to want a career in the sector.

All areas of caregiving have been stretched to their limit over the last 12 months but there is evidence that more people are considering healthcare or caregiving.

Applications for nursing courses have surged by 32% amid the pandemic.

Dr Colin Jones encouraged people who are keen to pursue what can be a fulfilling career. But he warned against assuming that it will be easy.

“I would say to people don’t even consider it if you are not 100% committed and know what you’re signing up for. This is not a job, this is something very unique.”

National Caregivers Day 2021 takes place tomorrow.

Picture: Marie Curie

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