Types and patterns of safety concerns in home care: client and family caregiver perspectives

Int J Qual Health Care. 2016 Apr;28(2):214-20. doi: 10.1093/intqhc/mzw006. Epub 2016 Jan 31.


Objective: Drawing on interviews with home care clients and their family caregivers, we sought to understand how these individuals conceptualize safety in the provision and receipt of home care, how they promote safety in the home space and how their safety concerns differ from those of home support workers.

Design: In-depth, semi-structured interviews were conducted with clients and family caregivers. The analysis included topic and analytical coding of participants' verbatim accounts.

Setting: Interviews were completed in British Columbia, Canada.

Participants: Totally 82 clients and 55 caregivers participated.

Results: Clients and family caregivers identified three types of safety concerns: physical, spatial and interpersonal. These concerns are largely multi-dimensional and intersectional. We present a conceptual model of client and caregiver safety concerns. We also examine the factors that intensify and mitigate safety concerns in the home.

Conclusions: In spite of safety concerns, clients and family caregivers overwhelmingly prefer to receive care in the home setting. Spatial and physical concerns are the most salient. The financial burden of creating a safe care space should not be the client's alone to bear. The conceptualization and promotion of safety in home care must recognize the roles, responsibilities and perspectives of all of the actors involved, including workers, clients and their caregivers.

Keywords: aged; caregivers; home care services; qualitative research; safety.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Caregivers* / psychology
  • Female
  • Home Care Services* / standards
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Patient Safety*