Scand J Caring Sci; 2012; 26; 528–536
The exhausting dilemmas faced by home-care service providers when enhancing participation among older adults receiving home care
Older adults wish to stay at home, participate in society and manage on their own as long as possible. Many older adults will, however, eventually become dependent on care and help to maintain their daily living. Thus, to enhance activity and participation also among older adults that receive home-based services, there is a strong need for development of knowledge-based practice regarding participation. The specific aim of this study is to explore how service providers perceive that their working conditions influence on their possibilities to promote participation among older adults, and more specifically, how they perceive the influence of their working conditions. A purposeful sampling strategy was applied, and six focus groups with professionals in two municipalities were conducted. The focus groups comprised four and six participants of varying ages, length of working experience and professions. A total of 30 service providers participated. The data were analysed by a constant comparative method following the guidelines from Grounded Theory. The analysis identified the categories ‘encountering needs that cannot be met’, ‘expectations about participation’, ‘organisation of services’ and ‘professional standards’ influencing the service delivery. During this analytical process, ‘being on the verge’ emerged as a core category that describes the service providers’ experience of a stressful workday, i.e. when they had the feeling of working against their own professional standards and being pushed to their limits. The findings indicate how the professional standards of service providers on the whole are in line with health policy for in-home services. Policy objectives are, however, not always followed owing to different constraints at the level of service delivery. Along the path from political ideals to the practical execution of services, external circumstances related to the organisation of services are perceived as crucial.