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Good work organisation in home care: Investigation of work stressors and strain

Project number: F 2521 Institution: Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA) Status: Ongoing Project Planned end: 2024-04-30


The outpatient care sector, in which 14.050 care services provided care for approximately 830.000 people in need of care in 2017 (GBE-Bund), is an essential element of services for the public in Germany.

Due to progressive demographic changes, the legally anchored principle of "outpatient before inpatient" (§ 3 SGB XI) and the increasing proportion of people who want to live at home for as long as possible, it is assumed that this care sector will continue to gain in importance (Rothgang & Müller, 2019). The number of people employed here has already increased considerably during the last approximately 20 years (1999: 183,800; 2017: 390,300; GBE-Bund).

However, as in other care sectors, there has been a significant shortage of skilled personnel in home care for years: In 2019, about 16.000 positions for nurses in home care had been vacant for at least three months (ZQP, 2019). From empirical studies on the early career exit of nurses in various sectors (e. g. Hasselhorn et al., 2005; Theobald et al., 2013) it is known that this is closely related to unfavourable working conditions. Accordingly, these are a central starting point for (work) design.

This is where the F 2521 project comes in. It aims at generating up-to-date findings on the work situation of home care personnel and its health in order to create an evidence-based foundation for the human-centred design of work in this care sector and to contribute to the improvement of care quality. For this purpose, work and organisational characteristics, their constellations, and indicators of the outpatient caregivers´ health will be examined using e. g. surveys as well as job analyses (i.e. analyses of work activities), and correlated.

Thus, characteristics relevant for human-centred work design and their health-promoting values will be identified and discussed with experts as well as practitioners. The results form a starting point for further research and transfer activities such as developing an instrument for the analysis, evaluation and design of work in home care, which may be used in the context of psychosocial risk assessment.

Further information


Unit 3.3 "Designing Service Work"

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