HOW DO WORK HIERARCHIES AND STRICT DIVISIONS OF LABOUR IMPACT CARE WORKERS’ EXPERIENCES OF HEALTH AND SAFETY? CASE STUDIES OF LONG TERM CARE IN TORONTO
I. Syed, T. Daly, P. Armstrong, R. Lowndes, M. Chadoin, V. Naidoo
Jour Nursing Home Res 2016;2:41-49
Background: According to the Canadian Health Care Association (1), there are 2,577 long-term care (“LTC”) facilities across Canada, with the largest proportion (33.4%) located in Ontario. Most studies focus on residents’ health, with less attention paid to the health and safety experiences of staff. Given that the work performed in Ontario LTC facilities is very gendered, increasingly racialized, task-oriented, and with strict divisions of labour, this paper explores in what ways some of these factors impact workers’ experiences of health and safety. Objectives: The study objectives included the following research question: How are work hierarchies and task orientation experienced by staff? Design and Setting: This paper draws on data from rapid team-based ethnographies of the shifting division of labour in LTC due to use of informal carers in six non-profit LTC facilities located in Toronto, Ontario. Methods: Our method involved conducting observations and key informant interviews (N=167) with registered nurses, registered practical nurses, personal support workers, dietary aides, recreation therapists, families, privately paid companions, students, and volunteers. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim, and thematically analyzed. For observations, researchers were paired and covered shifts between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m., as well as into the late night over six days, at each of the six sites. Detailed ethnographic field notes were written during and immediately following observational fieldwork. Results: Our results indicate that employee stress is linked to the experiences of care work hierarchies, task orientation, and strict divisions of labour between and among various staff designations. Conclusion: Findings from this project confirm and extend current research that demonstrates there are challenging working conditions in LTC, which can result in occupational health and safety problems, as well as stress for individual workers.
I. Syed ; T. Daly ; P. Armstrong ; R. Lowndes ; M. Chadoin ; V. Naidoo (2016): How Do Work Hierarchies and Strict Divisions of Labour Impact Care Workers’ Experiences of Health and Safety? Case Studies of Long Term Care in Toronto. The Journal of Nursing Home Research Science (JNHRS). http://dx.doi.org/10.14283/jnhrs.2016.6