Content » Vol 29, Issue 4

Original report

Attitude to work and health problems among home care workers in settings with different degrees of institutionalization

A Hedin
Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, University Hospital, Uppsala, Sweden.
DOI: 10.2340/16501977199729197203


The relationship between different degrees of institutionalization in the care of the elderly (service house, home care, and a combination of both) and work-load, as well as staff feelings regarding psychosocial variables and health complaints, was investigated. Seventy-one staff members similar in background factors answered questionnaires semi-annually during a period of 3 years. The results revealed consistent and stable differences between the different settings. The staff in service houses had the highest documented and subjective work-load and were doubly at risk for neck pain, fatigue and nervousness, and with a five-fold risk of shoulder pain, in comparison with the staff in home care, with the mixed group in an intermediary position. The results indicate that work involving mixed tasks might lower the strain of dealing with highly dependent clients in a highly institutionalized environment. Generalizations are limited, because of small sample sizes and descriptive design, but the results were consistent and persisted over a 3-year period.

Lay Abstract


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