Improving working conditions in home care services

A guide to good organizational practices aimed at improving the quality of home
care and home support services (HCS) jobs has just been published by the
Institut de recherche Robert-Sauvé en santé et en sécurité du travail (IRSST).
Developed by members of two research teams, the IRSST in Québec and the Service
de psychologie du travail of the Université de Mons in Belgium, this project
was funded by the 5th permanent joint board on cooperation between Québec -

Based on several data sources and observation of real-life work in Québec and
Belgium, the research used for the guide was carried out in close cooperation
with actual caregivers. It led to recommendations to improve the working
conditions, better prevent OSH risks and raise the status of occupations
traditionally held by women.

Intended for everyone involved, especially employers, the guide provides paths
to good organizational practices. It emphasizes the coordination of the players
necessary so that each knows exactly what he or she should do, including tasks
not under the responsibility of HCS personnel. This should be explained to the
clients and those around them from the start of the case management process. A
reciprocal contract of proper care could even be signed by the HCSs and their
clients. Several OSH problems related to awkward postures can be solved by
involving home care and home support workers (HCW) in setting up the home work
environment, particularly by installing hand showers, grab bars and non-slip
mats. Stabilizing work situations by avoiding frequent changes in employees'
clients and allowing a certain latitude in work route management will increase
the satisfaction of both the workers and the clients. Demanding cases can be
split among several workers. The guide also recommends multi-disciplinary
collaboration through formal and informal meetings, continuous training adapted
to clients' changing profiles, knowledge sharing and organizing the induction
and integration of newcomers into the work environments.

More information: - Source: Robert-Sauvé en santé et en sécurité du travail (IRSST)