Table of Contents
List of Figures
List of Abbreviations
2.1 Research objectives
2.2 Research steps
3.1 Presentation of the German care market
3.1.1 Employees within nursing homes
3.1.2 Current requirements within nursing homes
3.2 Work strains
3.2.1 Physical work strains
3.2.2 Mental work strains
3.2.3 Organizational work strains
3.2.4 Implications of work strains
3.3 Status of employees’ sickness
3.3.1 Status of employee’s sickness according to age and gender
3.3.2 Specific diseases
The demographic change within the German population and the increasing number of geriatric multimorbid diseased patients will cause a rising demand for nursing care in the future. At the same time the number of young nurses to provide care in nursing homes will decrease. Therefore, nurses for the elderly should be able to remain working healthy in their jobs as long as possible.
Before examining care givers’ work strains, the number of geriatric nurses and their working conditions will be analyzed followed by a description of the current situation within nursing homes, which is characterized by shrinking financial resources that affect manning negatively. At the same time job requirements keep continuously rising. Research from the field of occupational psychology reveals that increasing strains on one hand and reducing resources on the other will lead to negative health consequences, which might result in mental and physical complaints in the long run.
Concerning the physical work strains, geriatric nurses often have to work standing, in strenuous posture or have to lift and carry weights, which exceed 10 kilograms for women. These strains can result in health disorders of the neck, shoulders and lower back.
Concerning the mental work strains, nurses seem to handle the present emotional requirements from disease, suffering and death quite well and perceive handling aggressive and uncooperative residents as being more challenging. These behaviors are mainly shown by residents, who suffer from dementia. When being discontent with the quality of care, geriatric nurses seem to burn out faster compared to content nurses for the elderly.
Concerning the organizational work strains, staff shortage and the linked time pressure are perceived as stressful by geriatric nurses. Nurses for the elderly perceive having too little time for the residents’ psychosocial support, which reduces the perceived quality of care and hence leads to discontent, which might result in burn-out.
Therefore, the status of employees’ sickness of geriatric nurses is above average. This tendency can be perceived in both, cases of illness as well as in average endurance. Regarding the underlying diseases, diseases of the muscles and the skeleton system, of the respiratory system and of the psyche are the most important ones.
To reduce these work strains and thus improve the employees’ health status, several measurements should be conducted by employers. These compass providing devices for avoiding physical work strains from carrying, lifting and turning residents. To avoid mental work strains, employees should be able to participate by making suggestions, when planning the service schedule, receive training and have professional leaders who obtain core leadership competencies.
List of Figures
Figure 1: Number of persons in need of care until 2030
Figure 2: Physical work strains
Figure 3: Health disorders
Figure 4: Satisfaction with the quality of care
Figure 5: Number of employees ill according to age and gender (AOK insurants of 2003)
Figure 6: Status of employees’ sickness according to the types of diseases
Figure 7: Mental health status of geriatric nurses
List of Abbreviations
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The demographic change within the German population and the increasing number of geriatric multimorbid diseased patients will cause an increasing demand for nursing care in the future. At the same time the number of young geriatric nurses decreases. Therefore, stationary care for the elderly will depend on older and experienced, but concerning their health status, strained employees. Thus, the working conditions have to be arranged in a way that allows geriatric nurses to operate healthy as long as possible.
To create healthy working environments, work strains, which stress geriatric nurses, shall be detected. Afterwards these work strains shall be reduced within a project of work place health promotion.
To explore work strain factors among caregivers, a complex desk research was arranged, in which solely secondary data were analyzed via fact finding. Zikmund (2003, p. 136) defines secondary data as “data that have been previously collected for some purpose other than the one at hand”. Additionally, secondary data are mainly historical and do not involve contacting respondents (Zikmund 2003, p. 154).
Using secondary research offers the following advantages compared to applying primary data: Acquiring secondary data is usually less expensive than obtaining data via primary research. Additionally, secondary data can be attained faster, since preparative activities like sampling and data processing can be omitted (Zikmund 2003, p. 136). Utilizing secondary data also holds disadvantages: They cannot be tailored to the researcher’s needs and are therefore not fully consistent with the individual research objective (Zikmund 2003, p. 136).
Aberrations might occur concerning e.g. the scope of study or the categories and secondary data might thus be inadequate. Additionally, the comparability of secondary data might differ due to different time horizons. Moreover, information gathered by secondary research might be outdated. Terms and units of measurement might differ from the own research objective and information might be missing to verify the data’s accuracy (Zikmund 2003, p. 137).