What is it like to stay at home to save lives and protect the NHS?
AuthorsSnell, Anthony D.
MetadataShow full item record
AbstractOn the 23rd of March 2020, the citizens of the United Kingdom were instructed by the government to stay at home, to save lives and protect the NHS to manage the impact of Coronavirus. This thesis aims to contribute to understanding the personal impact of this instruction, particularly on those most vulnerable to the virus and instructed to shield themselves by avoiding face-to-face contact. A Narrative Inquiry methodology was used to understand the experience of six participants who had been living alone for twelve months. The government instructed each participant to shield in their home to avoid human contact due to the risk of serious harm or death that may result from catching COVID due to existing health conditions. Their stories were captured during a sixty-minute unstructured interview held over video or telephone. Participants' stories fell into three broad categories: stories about the impact of staying at home, their interactions with other people, and stories concerning broader social issues. Fear was central to many of the participants’ stories due to uncertainties at the time; the fear of how they will survive being alone, fear of others when they come close, and fear of an untrustworthy government and the impact of evolving social injustices. Each participant demonstrated great fear during this period, with the unquestioned narrative that they would die if they caught the virus. To manage this fear, participants used different strategies, including following the rules very strictly, keeping themselves distracted by filling their days, showing concern and helping less fortunate people, and associating themselves with a strong social network. Most significantly, all participants followed the rules as they wanted to protect their own lives, which is contrary to the dominant discourse that rules should be followed to save others’ lives and the NHS. This thesis tells the story of six individuals as they endured a terrifying period of uncertainty and demonstrated that when experiencing extreme circumstances, how adaptable and resourceful they were. Opening the door to six individuals and asking them what it was like for them illuminates how personality, history and circumstances impacted the experience of being faced with the possibility of death. Furthermore, this research provides an opportunity to get close to and empathise with six individuals that had a more extreme experience of the lockdown than most due to their existing health conditions, opening up alternative meanings to the pandemic. Although the pandemic was a period that caused great terror, it was also a time for these six individuals to pause and reflect on personal and social values, to notice what they were grateful for, and a desire to make things better for those who are less fortunate.
CitationSnell, A. D. (2022). What is it like to stay at home to save lives and protect the NHS? [Unpublished doctoral thesis]. University of Chester.
PublisherUniversity of Chester
TypeThesis or dissertation
The following license files are associated with this item:
- Creative Commons
Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International