Losing the silver lining - Swedish social workers’ experiences of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sammanfattning: During the COVID-19 pandemic social services were seen as vital for society but in Sweden, the Public Health Authority advised all citizens to limit meetings with others outside of their own household which complicated needs assessment in social work. Additionally, a vulnerable group for getting severely ill of COVID-19 was older people. Therefore, the purpose of the study was to investigate what feelings, challenges, and opportunities that social workers in the field of elderly care had experienced in Sweden during the pandemic. The research questions of the study included what feelings the social workers had experienced related to their occupational role, what challenges and opportunities that occurred when carrying out their work and how they felt regarding support and guidelines that they were given. The research method was semi-structured interviews and with the use of crisis theory, systems theory, and theory about professions, the results were analyzed by using thematic analysis. The results showed that there were several changes in the profession of social work that affected the social workers. The biggest challenge with working through the pandemic was missing out on non-verbal communication when meetings could not be held in-person. Social workers felt that they lost the silver lining of their job which was meetings with their clients. Surprisingly though, there were also many positive aspects seen by the social workers in elderly care. Working from home was efficient and they saved time on not having to travel to the home of clients. Social workers in elderly care found themselves on an emotional roller coaster during the pandemic, feeling happiness, hope, excitement, fear, sadness, grief, anxiety, frustration, and longing. Overall, it was concluded that the social workers who worked through the pandemic had worked through a crisis and the profession of social work needs to consider how this will have affected social workers in the long run.
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