Human Affairs 32 (2):213-227 (2022)

The cost-effectiveness of 24-hour care makes it a major source of support for elderly people in need of home-based care in Austria. Language barriers, feelings of isolation when living with chronically ill people and a lack of adequate training and quality control create stressful working conditions for 24-hour caregivers in Austria, who mainly come from Slovakia, Hungary and Romania. The challenges not only affect the 24-hour caregivers themselves but also their clients, relatives and registered care agency nurses in care settings. The aim of the qualitative study was to assess user needs in order to develop an app to improve working conditions and quality assurance in 24-hour home-care. The study consisted of guided interviews, focus group and cultural probes and 45 interviewees. The collected data were analyzed using Kuckartz’s method of content structuring qualitative content analysis. The main results show that 24-hour caregivers predominantly require information about common geriatric diseases and the law on 24-hour care. Additionally, medical emergencies can cause insecurities, which creates high interest in professional emergency management skills. Clients and relatives are especially interested in 24-hour caregivers having better German language skills. Care agencies and registered nurses would particularly welcome electronic care documentation to ensure traceability of the activities and measures taken. The study points to the need for a digital tool that would meet demand for an appropriate assistance system for 24-hour home-care that complies with the AAL requirements of the aligned project. Therefore, the intended software solution meets challenges in 24-hour home-care for 24-hour caregivers, persons in need of care, their relatives and professionals involved in the 24-hour care setting.
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DOI 10.1515/humaff-2022-0016
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