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Health Soc Care Community. 1999 Mar;7(2):79-90.

Workload, capacity for coping and psychological and physical outcomes amongst home helps in the Netherlands.

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NIVEL (Netherlands Institute of Primary Health Care); University of Maastricht, Faculty of Health Sciences, Department of Nursing Science.


Owing to many developments and changes in home care in the Netherlands, a national study was carried out. One of the aims was to examine the differences between the six categories of home help in the Netherlands regarding workload, pressure of work and capacity for coping. A total of 474 home helps from six categories participated in the study. A structured questionnaire, based on the components of the research model, was used, which consisted of existing scales regarding workload (organizational and job characteristics, working conditions), psychological and physical outcomes (job satisfaction, burnout, health) and capacity for coping (social support, leadership style, coping strategies). Workload, specifically organizational and job characteristics are scored low by alpha helps and, to a lesser degree, by A home helps. The higher categories of home help experienced relatively bad working conditions. Home helps, except for alpha helps, are, on the whole, quite satisfied with their work, which is one of the psychological and physical outcomes. The higher categories of home help (C, D and E carers) experienced high feelings of emotional exhaustion. Health, absenteeism and back problems did not differ significantly amongst home helps. When looking at capacity for coping, traditional home helps (A to E) received more social support. The subordinate categories of home help dealt less actively with their problems and sought less social support than the other categories. Alpha helps are not employed by the organization and this might cause low organizational and job characteristics, and little social support. Their satisfaction scores suggest that they would like to see their low organizational involvement changed. The higher categories of home help, who carry out many psychosocial tasks, have higher emotional and mental workload and high burnout scores. B, C and D carers, who perform personal care and have to adhere to strict planning, experience extreme time pressure and a high physical workload.


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