An Asha worker is feeling very stressed and anxious about needing to go to people’s homes for health screening. How to help her? I am myself uncomfortable as a counselor about her role, as she is expected to work in a high risk situation.

QuestionsCategory: Health worriesAn Asha worker is feeling very stressed and anxious about needing to go to people’s homes for health screening. How to help her? I am myself uncomfortable as a counselor about her role, as she is expected to work in a high risk situation.
Natasha asked 2 years ago
2 Answers

It may help if the counsellor communicates something along these lines to the Asha worker: “Feeling anxious is understandable because of the work expected from Asha Worker. It is a normal response to an abnormal situation like covid19. You are doing great work to humanity and your services cannot be compensated. You are in a helping profession, your support at this juncture is very valued. Do take all precautions and continue your service. Do take care of yourself. “
The counsellor also needs to  convey that If   the Asha Worker  finds  that there is lack of adequate protection, she need not hesitate in requesting for the same. In case, she  has some vulnerabilities   which increase her risk, she can bring it to light in her discussion with the supervisor/superior.  She can also be encouraged to use strategies such as deep breathing when stressed, talking to close friends and family members, verbalizing concerns, enlisting their support, and being mindful of the precautions  one  is  taking  and can  take. The Asha worker also could be reminded that “You are not alone in this journey. Your colleagues, health workers, nurses, doctors, lab technicians and we are all with you”.
It is natural for the counsellor to feel stressed herself. Let the counsellor try to empathize rather than sympathize. Yes, it is crisis, and everyone needs to do their bits. Hence as a counsellor our job would be to give information and create space for   them to express their feelings and help them feel heard. Let the counsellor recognize the efforts and help the Asha worker reflect on her own values about her roles. In such difficult situations some need to take up this job to work in the community. Asha workers are the link for health care workers and the community, their support is highly valuable in reaching community. The counsellor could consider expressing something like this: “I would like to thank you for your service to humanity during crisis. In case if it is troubling you more, let us talk frequently. Do take care and take care of others, to the extent you can.” Let us all work together in this crisis time and fight against covid19.

Dr Sailaxmi Gandhi Dept. of Nursing, NIMHANS Expert answered 2 years ago
Few additional points to what Dr.Janardhana said: 1) In case the ASHA worker senses resentment, aggression directed towards her, she can firstly explain to them the purpose of the screening and secondly how this would help the family/community.  If this does not work then  inform her superiors about this and avoid the particular house-hold or community.   2) She needs to follow these precautions : wear mask, have a different set of clothes & footwear to wear when going to the community, carry hand sanitizer (if not soap and wash her hand whenever she feels she has touched any suspicious surface), avoid touching her face.  Once she returns, she needs to bathe (hair wash) and wash her clothes with detergent (1% sodium hypochloride if available) and dry them in the sun.  Change her clothes and footwear before returning home.  Once she reaches home, keep this pair of footwear outside her house, if possible once again bathe.