Are they immune? The impact of COVID-19 in Nursing Homes A qualitative study into the effect of COVID-19 on the organisational structure and thereby the quality of working life in nursing homes. Name:

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Nursing homes in The Netherlands are facing a huge challenge right now. In the previous years the workload and time pressure has increased. But last year it even increased more. The COVID-19 pandemic has had an enormous impact in the care sector and also in the nursing homes. Many nursing homes in The Netherlands were facing infections and even the death from residents because of COVID-19. Because of the virus, nursing homes were obligated to take measures to prevent the spreading of the virus. One of these measures was a lockdown, so no one could visit their family in the nursing homes. These measures had an effect on the organizational structure. The care workers needed to perform more tasks than normally. This study addresses the impact of COVID-19 on the organizational structure and the effect of these changes on the perceived quality of working life of care staff workers. In order to get insight in this phenomenon, 14 respondents are interviewed, and document analysis has been done. The document analysis is done to get an insight in the organizational structure and to analyse an employee satisfaction survey. The findings indicates that the quality of working life has decreased over the last year. For the care workers it was hard to get all the tasks done and because of the lockdown they needed to take over tasks. Support tasks like delivering food and cleaning homes were not part of their routine tasks. This organizational structure change has led to high time pressure, which causes the care staff workers to scale down care. Scaling down care is something that was hard for the care staff workers because taking care over the residents is the most important part of their jobs. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the autonomy of the care workers decreased. An extra department was built to make the COVID-19 policies. Because of the continuous changes of policies and the centralized policy making, they had no influence on the policies that were made. Besides the organizational structure changes, other factors also have had a negative impact on the quality of working life. Working with measures like face masks and suits, was something that the care workers experienced as awful and caused them mental and physical complaints. So, these organizational structure changes and extra measures caused that the quality of working life of care workers has decreased.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen