Date of Original Version
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.
A thematic qualitative study design using a semi-structured interview guide.
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.
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.
Publication Title, e.g., Journal
BMC Primary Care
Emmesjö, L., Hallgren, J. & Gillsjö, C. Home health care professionals’ experiences of working in integrated teams during the COVID-19 pandemic: a qualitative thematic study.BMC Prim. Care 23, 325 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12875-022-01934-1
Available at: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12875-022-01934-1
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