Working in clients' homes: the impact on the mental health and well-being of visiting home care workers

Home Health Care Serv Q. 2002;21(1):1-27. doi: 10.1300/J027v21n01_01.


The purpose of this paper is to examine the effects of working in clients' homes on the mental health and well-being of visiting home care workers. This paper reports the results of a survey of 674 visiting staff from three non-profit home care agencies in a medium-sized city in Ontario, Canada. Survey results are also complimented by data from 9 focus groups with 50 employees. For purposes of this study, home care workers include visiting therapists, nurses, and home support workers. Mental health and well-being is measured by three dependent variables: stress; job stress; and intrinsic job satisfaction. Multiple least squared regression analyses show several structural, emotional, physical, and organizational working conditions associated with the health and well-being of visiting home care workers. Overall, results show that workload, difficult clients, clients who take advantage of workers, sexual harassment, safety hazards, a repetitious job, and work-related injuries are associated with poorer health. Being fairly paid, having good benefits, emotional labour, organizational support, control over work, and peer support are associated with better health. Results suggest that policy change is needed to encourage healthier work environments for employees who work in clients' homes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Community Health Nursing*
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Home Care Services*
  • Humans
  • Job Satisfaction
  • Least-Squares Analysis
  • Male
  • Mental Health*
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Occupational Health*
  • Ontario
  • Stress, Psychological / prevention & control*
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology
  • Workforce
  • Workload