Sorcha Heron: Who Cares for the Carer?

Sorcha Heron: Who Cares for the Carer?

As part of the Autumn Season of Documentary on Newstalk, radio producer Sorcha Heron looks at the factors that cause burnout among social care workers in Ireland in Who Cares for the Carer? 

There are over 6,000 social care workers believed to be working in Ireland. They take care of our homeless, people with disabilities, the elderly and children in care.

While they tend to the needs of those most vulnerable in Irish society – they too are believed to be the most vulnerable of those working in the care sector. Often faced with challenging and violent behaviour – along with the suffering of the people they care for – social care workers are at increasing risk of being burnt out.

One social care worker – who did not wish to be named – reveals how they experience both physical and sexual assaults while at work. Another worker spoke out about the lack of support from management when a pregnant co-worker miscarried after an incident at work:

“She was in the early stages of pregnancy and she did a hold with a kid and the kid kind of backed up really fast against her abdomen and that evening she lost the baby. When she got pregnant again she said [to the manager], ‘I don’t want to be on the floor’ and his response was, ‘well, the womb is a robust vessel.'”

We also hear from a care-leaver about his experience of living in residential care units and how one social care worker changed the course of his life.