Who cares for the carers? New study will gather opinions on working conditions of care home workers

Careworker in a facemask helps elderly woman

Staff in care homes are one of the most vital groups of workers. Retaining them is a major challenge with annual turnover of staff higher than almost all other professions. A new study aimed at gathering the opinion of care home workers on issues that affect them has been launched by the Department of Social Policy and Intervention.  The study will survey care home workers and also interview a selection of workers to delve deeper into their experiences and opinions.

As we emerge from a very demanding pandemic we need to find ways to renew paid care work.

We actually know very little about the conditions of care workers and what it is like from their perspective. We hear a lot from the managers and owners but little from care workers themselves who are a relatively hidden population.    

The research project gives a voice to this under-represented group of workers and will gather their experiences to create guidelines for employers and national policy makers to improve the lives of care home workers.  This research seeks to develop new approaches to attracting and retaining workers based on their perspectives on why they do care work, what keeps them in their jobs, and what makes them leave. It will bring employers’ bodies and key organisations with an interest in the sector together to think creatively about building cultures of wellbeing, workplaces that are supportive and working environments where care workers can thrive and see their loyalty rewarded.

The project is led by Mary Daly, Professor of Sociology and Social Policy, who says  

‘our aim is to bring together a range of people involved in the sector to develop proposals to improve the working conditions and ensure that care workers as a hugely important group of workers receive the recognition they should.’