Hi there! I am a third-year social work student currently completing my field placement with Family Councils Ontario for this Spring/Summer semester. I think a great way to introduce myself would be to talk a bit about what has shaped my professional and personal interest in pursuing social work in long term care.
I will admit, my personal ties with long term care are quite limited. When I was younger, my cousin’s grandmother was placed into long term care. Many of the specific details were not shared with me but I do remember her experience not being one of the most positive ones as there were issues with language barriers and poor treatment from staff.
However, I wasn’t truly aware of the harsh realities that many people face in long term care until my first year of university. In my sociology class we discussed the treatment of and issues surrounding our aging population. My professor shared his personal experience with his mother being in long term care and that prompted a few of my fellow classmates to share their own stories as well. It was a very emotional class as most of their stories were absolutely heart wrenching to hear. The reality of what can happen in long term care and the effect it has on those within it and their families is terrible and at the time I couldn’t believe that this is something that is barely spoken about. I do think that it is important that I acknowledge that not every LTC home is like this and there are residents and families who do have positive experiences. However, this experience definitely still sparked something inside me to bring more awareness to these issues and to perhaps use my role as social worker to advocate for those in long term care and their families.
The Covid-19 pandemic has definitely brought a lot more awareness and exposure to the general public on the atrocities that occur within long term care. However, anybody who has worked with long term care or has had experience with it did not find the news to be as shocking. As I was discussing with my supervisors, the worry is that once life goes somewhat “back to normal”, and people will soon forget about those in long term care. Will the awareness and conversation surrounding LTC just stop? Will people just forget about the issue? This definitely pushes me further to want to really explore the realities of pursuing social work in long term care.
Overall, I know this placement is going to be an amazing opportunity to learn what actually goes into working within Long Term Care and how I can possibly provide support and advocacy for those in LTC and their families as a social worker in the future.