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New working conditions and consequences on activity of home healthcare workers


Home healthcare is steadily growing in Europe. There are a number of reasons for this development: aging population, rising hospital costs, preference to stay in one’s own home. Nevertheless, it has been known that home healthcare workers are frequently exposed to a variety of potentially serious occupational hazards. Furthermore, emotional labor is frequently high in this profession. This paper describes an ergonomic study conducted at a home healthcare service. The research focuses on analyzing working conditions of home healthcare aides and nurses, as well as the impacts of their work in terms of job satisfaction, well-being, emotions at work, relationships with the others and occupational stress. The study show that employee strategies are specifically centered around preserving the relationship between patients and workers and coping with the job demands. This paper also shows that home healthcare workers express emotions and conceal them from others. Finally, recommendations discussed with the manager and workers to improve working conditions in this sector led to practical proposals: for example, implementing certain equipment items better suited to difficult care, encouraging assistance between healthcare workers when operations require this through adequate organizational measures, extending work emotion-focused discussion groups with management involvement.