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Research article2017Peer reviewed

Time for Caring? Elderly care employees’ occupational activities in the cross draft between their work priorities, “must-do’s” and meaningfulness.

Nilsson, Emma; Nilsson, Kerstin


An increasing number of older people in the population will bring new challenges for the society and care coordination. One of the most important questions in care coordination is the employees’ work performance. The overall aim of this study was to examine care employees’ experience of factors that rule how they allocate their time and tasks in the care work. The study was qualitative and consists of focus group interviews with 36 employees in elderly care in five Swedish municipalities. Much of the work that care employees perform is controlled by others in the municipality organised health care. The employees had a limited possibility to decide what should be given priority in their work. However, the employees who participated in the focus group interviews did not want to prioritise tasks and duties they felt were faulty or in direct conflict with their own convictions. When employees experienced that the assistance assessments were correct and helpful to the individual elderly patient this contributed to the employees’ priority and performance of the task. The formal and informal control systems caused the employees’ priority to be mainly quantitative and visible work tasks, rather than more qualitative tasks and care giving to the elderly. In the intention to organise good care coordination that fit each elderly patients’ need it is important that those who work closest to the patient to a greater extent are given the opportunity to make their voice heard in decisions of care planning and assistance assessments.

Published in

International Journal of Care Coordination
2017, Volume: 20, number: 1 - 2, pages: 8 - 16

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Health Care Service and Management, Health Policy and Services and Health Economy

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