The abuse and wellbeing of long-term care workers in the COVID-19 era: Evidence from the UK


Professor Shereen Hussein and Dr Eirini-Christina Saloniki presented interim findings from the RESSCW study funded by the Health Foundation at the the International Long-Term Care Policy Network, LTCcovid, Workshop 6-7 December 2021.

The social care workforce faced unprecedented challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, characterised by adverse working conditions, including low pay, high workload, and disproportional staff shortages. While the pandemic exacerbated these conditions, it also brought concerns about mistreatment of the workforce in the form of abuse – by co-workers, service users, their families, and the public. Such experiences can vary depending on personal and work characteristics, particularly affecting minority ethnic groups. They can subsequently impact workers’ wellbeing and the sector overall (in the form of quits).

This presentation will draw on findings from the first wave of a longitudinal survey as part of the Retention and Sustainability of Social Care Workforce (RESSCW) project. The analysis was conducted on 1,037 UK valid responses received between April and June 2021 and examined the impact of COVID-19 on workers’ working conditions, general health and wellbeing, and intentions to leave the employer and sector altogether. The findings highlight worrying experiences of abuse amongst the survey respondents, which vary significantly by nationality, ethnicity and care settings. The analysis further showcases the negative impact of experiencing abuse on work-life balance (and wellbeing more broadly) and intentions to quit whilst emphasising the need for targeted measures that promote workers’ physical, emotional and financial wellbeing.

The findings have important policy and practice implications and call for actions to enhance the working conditions and wellbeing of care workers. This includes a recognition of the significant impacts of COVID19 on the wellbeing and work outcomes of workers and in devising suitable post-recovery strategies.



Shereen Hussein (London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine), Grace Collins (University of Kent), Catherine Marchand (University of Kent) and the RESSCW research team

To find out more about this project:

COVID-19 and the wellbeing of the adult social care workforce: Evidence from the UK (Pulse survey findings)

Early findings from a social care workers’ longitudinal survey (Wave 1): COVID-19 implications(Longitudinal survey; wave one early findings)

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Professor of Health and Social Care Policy, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK

Shereen Hussein is a Professor of Health and Social Care Policy at the Department of Health Services Research and Policy (HSRP) at the LSHTM. She is a Co-Director of the PRUComm policy research unit. She is also an Honorary Professor at the University of Kent and King’s College London in the UK and the University of Southern Queensland in Australia.

Shereen is a demographer with expertise in labour-migration, sociology and economics. Her primary research revolves around ageing, family dynamics, migration and long-term care. Shereen has previously worked with the United Nations, the Population Council, the World Bank, and the League of Arab States. Her current research focuses on ageing demographics, long term care demand and migration within the UK and Europe and the implications on policy and practice.

Shereen has conducted extensive research on population ageing and its impact on long term care and health policy and practices in the UK, internationally and in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. She has contributed to recent United Nations’ policy response to ageing in the region through collaboration with UN-ESCWA and directly providing expert consultations to several countries in the region including Turkey, Oman and Egypt. Shereen leads many large research projects on ageing and long-term care in the UK and contributes to a large project addressing responses to dementia in developing countries STRiDE. Shereen is the founder and lead of the MENARAH network.