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Keywords:

  • eldercare;
  • physical work environment;
  • prospective study;
  • psychosocial work environment;
  • turnover

Aim

To investigate reasons for actual turnover among eldercare staff and to investigate changes in job design that could prevent turnover.

Background

Many Western countries have difficulties in recruiting healthcare staff to provide care for an ageing population. Knowledge on the causes of turnover among healthcare staff is therefore important.

Method

In a prospective cohort study (= 7025) baseline characteristics were compared for employees who respectively quit, retired and worked in eldercare at follow-up. Additionally, a survey was conducted among those employees who left their jobs during follow-up.

Results

Employees who quit their jobs (= 461) primarily stated that psychosocial work conditions caused them to quit, whereas retirees (= 265) primarily stated reasons related to health and physical job demands. Improvements in the time available for the contact with the elderly, increased skill discretion and improved social relations could prompt employees to reconsider quitting or retiring.

Conclusion

Work in eldercare has some ‘core’ aspects that appear desirable to employees who quit or retired. Building on those aspects offers a strategy for enhanced recruitment potential.

Impact for nursing management

To reduce turnover managers should improve psychosocial work conditions in eldercare and ensure that physical demands do not exceed the capacities of employees.