Module 3

Psychosocial Stressors and Resources of Live-in Caregivers in German Households – a Qualitative Study

Schilgen B, Nienhaus A, Savcenko K, Mösko M. (2019). Psychosocial Stressors and Resources of Live-in Caregivers in German Households – a Qualitative Study. Das Gesundheitswesen.

Link to the article in “Das Gesundheitswesen” (German)

Aim of the study: Live-in caregivers who provide household- and person-related services for the elderly in need of care in German private households mostly come from abroad. These labour conditions generally do not meet any tariff or labour law-related binding regulations. Live-in caregivers are additionally exposed to social isolation and the confusion of work and privacy. The study is full of gaps because the target group cannot be reached easily. The aim of the present study was to qualitatively explore the work and health situation of live-in caregivers with a focus on workplace-related stressors and resources.

Methodology: The recruitment process was carried out via placement agencies, online portals, social network platforms as well as care associations. Nine semi-structured interviews were conducted with live-in care-givers in private households. The evaluation was based on Mayringʼs content analysis with inductive category formation.

Results and conclusions: Permanent presence, communication difficulties and interpersonal conflicts are daily burdens for live-in caregivers. These burdens are associated with impaired mental and physical health in terms of exhaustion, insomnia, increased irritability and depression symptoms. However, live-in caregivers also receive support from third parties and distance themselves emotionally and locally from the direct care situation. The feeling of gratitude, the experience of being accepted and also financial security are mentioned as further relevant resources. While the target group can be made visible through resource-intensive recruiting efforts in the research context, the introduction of a common occupational definition is necessary in the political context.