Organizational Change and the Health and Well-Being of Home Care Workers Article uri icon

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abstract

  • Objective: The objective of this research is to study the impact of health care restructuring and other organizational changes on the mental and physical health of home care workers. Methods: This study covers 11 agencies and 7 union locals. We interviewed 59 key decision-makers, 171 workers in 29 focus groups, and surveyed 1,311 workers (70% response rate). Qualitative data are analyzed for themes and quantitative data analysis consists of descriptive statistics and associations between variables. Results: The restructuring of the health care sector and organizational change have increased stress levels and musculoskeletal disorders of home care workers. Physical health problems among this workforce are much higher than the comparable group in the Canadian population. Restructuring and organizational change are significant factors in decreasing job satisfaction, while increasing absenteeism rates, fear of job loss, and propensity to leave. Conclusions: Occupational health problems experienced by these workers are preventable. It is important to acknowledge that occupational stress can result from incremental changes in the work and external work environment, affecting physical health, job dissatisfaction, absenteeism, and propensity to leave. Sufficient government funding to provide services, avoiding continuous changes in the work environment, and creating supportive work environments can positively contribute to workers' health.