Changes in working conditions for home healthcare workers and impacts on their work activity and on their emotions

Weerdt, Corinne Van De; Baratta, René

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Home healthcare is steadily growing in many countries. Nevertheless, it is known that home healthcare workers are frequently exposed to a variety of potentially serious occupational hazards. Working conditions have changed to become more emotionally and physically demanding on workers. Emotional labor is increasingly high in this profession. Time pressure is increasingly common. This paper describes an ergonomic study analyzing the working conditions of nursing assistants and nurses, as well as the impacts of their work in terms of job satisfaction, emotions at work, relationships with the others, and occupational stress. The study shows that changing working conditions are making it increasingly difficult for home healthcare workers to do their work properly. We can confirm that such workers use strategies to try to cope. They use individual strategies to preserve the relational dimension of their work activity. These strategies are specifically centered around preserving the relationships with patients, and coping with the demands of the job. The study also shows that workers use strategies to express emotions and to conceal them from others. Finally, the paper presents the recommendations that were discussed with the manager and workers for improving working conditions and that led to practical proposals: e.g. implementing certain items of equipment better suited to difficult care, encouraging assistance between workers when operations so require through appropriate organizational measures, extending emotion-focused work discussion groups with management involvement.


Emotion. Home healthcare. Job satisfaction. Occupational stress. Workplace.


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