Interventions for Improving Working Environment in Home Care Work in Sweden – Preliminary Findings from the First Year: A Gender Perspective

  • Britt ÖstlundEmail author
  • Charlotte Holgersson
  • Rydenfält Christofer
  • Inger Arvidsson
  • Gerd Johansson
  • Roger Persson
Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing book series (AISC, volume 826)


Home care services are an important part of the Swedish social welfare system. Considering the size of the sector and the increasing future needs for home care, due to growing elderly populations, it is worrisome that problems in terms of injuries, sick leave and staff turnover appear common in this occupation. A problem for managing the situation is, however, that the current knowledgebase is fragmented and not much developed being characterized by a homogenous workforce in terms of gender, dominated by women. A common perception is that this work is low skilled and something that can be done part time in parallel with household work. To improve the working environment in home care work, we initiated a project in which one of the goals was to create a better overview of published results of interventions and examples from community practice. Accordingly, we undertook a systematic review of the scientific literature with the purpose to find and map practical examples of interventions. The preliminary result suggests that there is a considerable lack of knowledge and often lacking, or poor, analyses of the consequences of the unequal gender balance in home care work. Interventions could be grouped into four types of interventions: scheduling, education and training, organizational change and digitization. Interestingly, it seems as if single problems at the workplace level to a larger extent are covered in the scientific literature while problems on the system level are more seldom addressed.


Home care Gender Interventions 


  1. 1.
    Andersson K (2012) Paradoxes of gender in elderly care: the case of men as care workers in Sweden. NORA Nord J Feminist Gend Res 20(3):166–181Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Arvidsson I, Gremark J, Granqvist L, Enquist H, Andersson J, Renglin J (2017) Arbetsmiljö och hälsa hos personal inom hemvård och särskilt boende [Working environment and health for employees in home care and elderly living]. Report. Arbets- och miljömedicin Syd, no 9Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Czuba LR, Sommerich CM, Lavender SA (2012) Ergonomic and safety risk factors in home health care: exploration and assessment of alternative interventions. Work 42:341–353Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Dellve L, Williamsson A, Strömgren M, Holden RJ, Eriksson A (2015) Lean implementation at different levels in Swedish hospitals: the importance for working conditions and stress. Int J Hum Factors Ergon 3(3–4):235–253CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Denton M, Zeytinoglu IU, Davies S (2002) Job stress and job dissatisfaction of home care workers in the context of healthcare restructuring. Int J Health Serv 32:327–357CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Ede L, Rantakeisu U (2015) Managing organized insecurity: the consequences for care workers of deregulated working conditions in elderly care. Nord J Work Life Stud 5(2):55Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Elwer S, Alex L, Hammarström A (2012) Gender (in)equality among employees in elder care: implications for health. Int J Equity Health 11:1–1Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    European Commission (2016) Blueprint digital transformation of health and care for the ageing society. Report. Accessed 03 May 2018
  9. 9.
    FORTE (Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare) (2016) Förstudie inför utlysning av forskningsmedel rörande arbetsmiljön i kvinnodominerade sektorer [Prestudy before call for funding of research concerning working environment in women dominated sectors]. Report dnr. 2015-01433 Accessed 26 Apr 2018
  10. 10.
    Kommunal (2018) Personal som stannar. En rapport om arbetsmiljön i äldreomsorgen [Employers who stay. A report on the working environment in elderly care]Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Håland E, Rösstad T, Osmundsen TC (2015) Care pathways as boundary objects between primary and secondary care: experiences from Norwegian home care servives. Health 19(6):635–651CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    LEV (Long-term Demand for Welfare Services) (2010–2017) Från vård till hälsa – om värdet av digitalisering [From health care to health –on the value of digitization] Program report. Institute for Future Studies, StockholmGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Fredrik N (2018) Bortom IT. Den komplexa vårdens digitalisering. Om hälsa i en digital tid [Beyond IT. The complex digitization of health care. About health in times of digitization]. LEV rapport 4. Institute for Future Studies, StockholmGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Nordic Welfare Center (2012). Accessed 05 Mar 2018
  15. 15.
    Palmer E, Eveline J (2012) Sustaining low pay in aged care work. Gend Work Organ 19(3):254–275Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Regnö K (2013) Det osynliggjorda ledarskapet. Kvinnliga chefer i majoritet [The invisible leadership. Female managers in majority]. Dissertation. KTH, Royal Institute of Technology, StockholmGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    SKL, Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (2018) Sveriges viktigaste jobb finns i välfärden [Sweden’s most important jobs are in welfare]. RekryteringsrapportGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Socialstyrelsen, The National Board of Health and Welfare (2017) Tillståndet och utvecklingen inom hälso- och sjukvård [State of the art and developments concerning health care]. ReportGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Statistics Sweden (2016) Stora skillnader i lön mellan högst och lägst betalda yrkena [Big differences between highest and lowest salaries]. Accessed 02 May 2018
  20. 20.
    Swedish Work Environment Authority (2014) Projektrapport – Inspektioner av kvinno- och mansdominerad kommunal verksamhet, hemtjänst och teknisk förvaltning [Project report – Inspection of female and male dominated municipal occupations, home care and technology]. Rapport 3. Accessed 26 Apr 2018
  21. 21.
    Wahl A (2013) Gendering management. In: Sandberg Å (ed.) Nordic lights. Work, management and welfare in Scandinavia. SNS förlag, StockholmGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Vänje A (2015) Sick Leave-A signal of unequal work organizations? Gender perspectives on work environment and work organizations in the health care sector: a knowledge review. Nord J Work Life Stud 5(4):85CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Moher D, Liberati A, Tetzlaff J, Altman DG (2009) The PRISMA Group. Preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses: the PRISMA statement. PLoS Med 6(7):e1000097CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.KTH, Royal Institute of TechnologyStockholmSweden
  2. 2.Department of Design SciencesLund UniversityLundSweden
  3. 3.Occupational Environmental MedicineLund UniversityLundSweden
  4. 4.Department of PsychologyLund UniversityLundSweden

Personalised recommendations