Caring for people with dementia in their own homes: Homecare workers’ experiences of tolerating and mitigating risk

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Little is known about risk management in homecare for people with dementia. We aimed to gain an understanding of the ways in which homecare workers assess and manage risk whilst caring for people with dementia in their own homes. We conducted a qualitative interview study with 17 homecare workers assisting people with dementia with their personal care. Interviews were face-to-face, semi-structured, recorded and transcribed verbatim. Analysis was inductive and thematic. A key theme of risk was identified, with three main sources: the client as a source of risk to the homecare worker, the clients’ home and behaviours as a risk to the client, and the wider health and social care system as a risk to both clients and homecare workers. Three interrelated aspects of risk were found to influence homecare workers’ decision-making and actions: homecare workers perception of the level of risk, their perceived ability to control the risk, and their tolerability of risk. The higher the perceived risk, the stronger the action taken by the worker or agency to mitigate it and the greater the impact on the client. To support effective development of this workforce there is a need to devise training that incorporates the use of tacit knowledge and experiential learning. Risk management policies for homecare should acknowledge and utilise the expertise, experiences and values of homecare workers.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAgeing & Society
Early online date8 Jun 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 8 Jun 2022

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