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Home health care professionals’ experiences of working in integrated teams during the COVID-19 pandemic: a qualitative thematic study
University of Skövde, School of Health Sciences. University of Skövde, Digital Health Research (DHEAR). School of Health and Welfare, Jönköping University, Sweden. (Wellbeing in Long-term Health Problems)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6484-9239
University of Skövde, School of Health Sciences. University of Skövde, Digital Health Research (DHEAR). (Wellbeing in Long-term Health Problems)ORCID iD: 0000-0003-1819-0896
University of Skövde, School of Health Sciences. University of Skövde, Digital Health Research (DHEAR). College of Nursing, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI, USA. (Wellbeing in Long-term Health Problems)ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3970-1288
2022 (English)In: BMC Primary Care, E-ISSN 2731-4553, Vol. 23, no 1, article id 325Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background

Since COVID-19 emerged, over 514 million COVID-19 cases and 6 million COVID-19-related deaths have been reported worldwide. Older persons receiving home health care often have co-morbidities that require advanced medical care, and are at risk of becoming severely ill or dying from COVID-19. In Sweden, over 10,000 COVID-19-related deaths have been reported among persons receiving municipal home health and social care. Home health care professionals have been working with the patients most at risk if infected. Most research has focused on the experiences of professionals in hospitals and assistant nurses in a home care setting. It is therefore valuable to study the experiences of the registered nurses and physicians working in home health care during the COVID-19 pandemic to learn lessons to inform future work.

Method

A thematic qualitative study design using a semi-structured interview guide.

Results

The health care professionals experienced being forced into changed ways of working, which disrupted building and maintaining relationships with other health care professionals, and interrupted home health care. The health care professionals described being forced into digital and phone communication instead of in-person meetings, which negatively influenced the quality of care. The COVID-19 pandemic brought worry about illness for the health care professionals, including worrying about infecting patients, co-workers, and themselves, as well as worry about upholding the provision of health care because of increasing sick leave. The health care professionals felt powerless in the face of their patients’ declining health. They also faced worry and guilt from the patients’ next of kin.

Conclusion

Home health care professionals have faced the COVID-19 pandemic while working across organizational borders, caring for older patients who have been isolated during the pandemic and trying to prevent declining health and feelings of isolation. Due to the forced use of digital and phone communication instead of in-person visits, the home health care professionals experienced a reduction in the patients’ quality of care and difficulty maintaining good communication between the professions.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
BioMed Central (BMC), 2022. Vol. 23, no 1, article id 325
National Category
Nursing Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology Health Care Service and Management, Health Policy and Services and Health Economy Geriatrics
Research subject
Wellbeing in long-term health problems (WeLHP)
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:his:diva-22161DOI: 10.1186/s12875-022-01934-1ISI: 000899229300002PubMedID: 36517792Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85144217881OAI: oai:DiVA.org:his-22161DiVA, id: diva2:1721704
Funder
University of SkövdeThe Kamprad Family Foundation
Note

CC BY 4.0

© 2022 BioMed Central Ltd unless otherwise stated. Part of Springer Nature.

Correspondence: lina.hovlin@his.se

© The Author(s) 2022. Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/ by/4.0/. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creat ivecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.

Open access funding provided by University of Skövde. This study was supported by a grant from the Kamprad Family Foundation for Entrepreneurship, Research, & Charity in Sweden (20190175). It was also supported by the School of Health Sciences, University of Skövde, Sweden, the Skaraborg Institute for Research and Development, and the foundation in memory of Gösta Svensson.

Available from: 2022-12-22 Created: 2022-12-22 Last updated: 2024-04-05Bibliographically approved

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Emmesjö, LinaHallgren, JennyGillsjö, Catharina

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