The human degree of care. Professional loving care for people with a mild intellectual disability: an explorative study

Authors

  • M. A. Hermsen,

    Corresponding author
    1. Tranzo, Tilburg School of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Tilburg, The Netherlands
    2. Kennisn@ Dichterbij, Ottersum, The Netherlands
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  • P. J. C. M. Embregts,

    1. Tranzo, Tilburg School of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Tilburg, The Netherlands
    2. Kennisn@ Dichterbij, Ottersum, The Netherlands
    3. Department of Medical and Clinical Psychology, Tilburg School of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Tilburg, The Netherlands
    4. Faculty of Health and Social Studies, HAN University of Applied Sciences, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
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  • A. H. C. Hendriks,

    1. Faculty of Health and Social Studies, HAN University of Applied Sciences, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
    2. Pedagogical Research and Educational Science Institute, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
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  • N. Frielink

    1. Tranzo, Tilburg School of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Tilburg, The Netherlands
    2. Kennisn@ Dichterbij, Ottersum, The Netherlands
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Abstract

Background

Research has shown that care staff are not always able to offer quality care. Commercialisation and market forces within the care sector are often pointed to as an explanation for this shortcoming. In the present study, insight is gained into the possible connections between the commercialisation of care, on the one hand, and the shrinkage of possibilities and motivation to offer professional loving care, on the other hand, from the perspective of care staff working with people with mild intellectual disabilities.

Method

Semi-structured qualitative interviews were conducted with 28 care staff working with people with mild intellectual disabilities. Scientific research methods were combined with normative ethical reflection to examine the internal morals of the care staff.

Results

According to participating care staff, an affiliation with and recognition of the client form the basis for professional loving care. Care staff recognise that their profession is increasingly being built upon manageability and accountability, and this is making their jobs more difficult.

Conclusion

We conclude that care staff perceive the precedence given to the smooth running of production processes over investment in direct contact with clients to be a real threat to the quality of care. Concerns about declining motivation and loss of work satisfaction as a result of the commercialisation of care are only partly acknowledged by care staff. While shrinkage of space for professional loving care is recognised, one can hardly speak of declining motivation.

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