PurposeThe global ageing population places increased demands on the professional caregiver workforce. Literature reveals that although many in this workforce experience stress and fatigue, they also experience high levels of work satisfaction. These findings seem contradictory and therefore warrant further qualitative exploration. The purpose of this paper is to explore how professional caregivers describe their health and well-being and to understand the interplay of work and life on health and well-being.Design/methodology/approachData were collected via semi-structured individual or group interviews with 31 professional caregivers from in-home or residential care situations in three geographic locations across NZ and analysed for themes. The general inductive approach was used for data analysis.FindingsThe authors present two themes: “A holistic interpretation of health” discusses caregivers’ perceptions of the meaning of health and well-being. Three interrelated sub-themes (“Fulfilment of an inherent nature”, “Obligation to look after oneself”, and “Risk management”) reflect the interplay of factors which influence health and well-being as a caregiver and make up the second theme of “Being in tune”. If balance was not achieved, caregivers recognised this as a risk to their health and well-being, especially to their psychological health, and considered leaving the profession.Originality/valueThe authors identified that caregivers considered health and well-being from a holistic perspective. They had insight into factors influencing their health. Despite high levels of stress, there was an overall positive perception of health and well-being that appears due in part to participating in a profession that fulfils an inherent nature. Collaborative problem solving between management and workforce, alongside recognising and affirming the unique skills of this workforce may help to empower caregiver resilience.
International Journal of Workplace Health Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Dec 4, 2017