Challenges facing home care workers and assessment of experiences of support and supervision

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Chilenga Brophy, Mable
Issue Date
BA (Hons) in Social Science
Dublin Business School
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The aim of this research was to explore the challenges facing Home Care Workers (HCWs) in the greater Dublin area and to assess their experiences of support and supervision. The Qualitative method was used, with semi-structured face to face interviews with five home care workers (1 male & 4 female) who signed consent forms. The interviews were recorded on a dictaphone, transcribed and stored on a password protected laptop and then imported into Nvivo 10. The raw data was coded and analysed thematically. The results showed that while HCWs have training and qualifications, there is a lack of standardisation in the profession. There are many challenges HCWs experience namely, bullying among colleagues, emotional stress (particularly in dealing with the death of clients), violence in the work place, fragmented work schedules, work-time pressures and physically demanding work. Supervision mostly benefits clients while support structures and supervision is absent for the employees. The conclusions drawn from the results are that there is no standard policy for the training and qualifications for HCWs, that they lack supervision, emotional support, safety and fair conditions in the private homes which are their places of work. The findings add something new, namely, the reports of bullying among care workers themselves which the companies by whom they are employed do not seem to be able to address. What was new in the findings is that HCWs report their attachments to clients as being emotionally close because they see them as ‘family’ and are unable to hold professional boundaries. Size sample and mixture of categories of participants were identified as limitations of this study. Future study could focus on one category of participants to explore bullying and the emotional pain of losing a client.