Struggling to adapt: caring for older persons while under threat of organizational change and termination notice


Correspondence: Birgitta Fläckman, Caring Sciences and Sociology, Gävle University, SE-801 76 Gävle, Sweden.
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Organizational changes are common in elder care today. Such changes affect caregivers, who are essential to providing good quality care. The aim of the present study was to illuminate caregivers’ experiences of working in elder care while under threat of organizational change and termination notice. Qualitative content analysis was used to examine interview data from 11 caregivers. Interviews were conducted at three occasions during a two-year period. The findings show a transition in their experiences from ‘having a professional identity and self-confidence’, to ‘being a professional in a threatening situation caused by someone else’ and to ‘struggling to adapt to a changed working environment as a person and a professional’. The caregivers experienced a loss of pride and satisfaction. Previous literature indicates that this may have consequences for the quality of care and that employees may be at risk of negative health effects. However, the caregivers continued to struggle, doing their best to complete their duties. The study has implications for high-level decision-makers, managers and caregivers in similar work–life situations in that it deals with factors that facilitate or impede similar transitions.