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2018 Conference Presentation

Workforce Austria

11 September 2018

Staff-to-resident-ratio in Austrian care homes for the elderly: status quo and field for action

Heidemarie Staflinger, Upper Austrian Chamber of Labor, Austria


Objectives: The legal basis concerning the number of employees in care is different in the nine Austrian Regions. Some regions use staff-to-resident-ratios, some other minute-values, other regions do not have a fixed number. Work in care homes changed during the last twenty years. The exces-sive workload is high in Austrian care homes. For that reason, employees in care homes often get ill, have a high turnover and in many cases are not able to work in their profession till retire-ment. Main objective of the study conducted by the Uper Austrian Chamber of Labour was to explore how suitable the legal basis, built in the 1990s, is to master the requirements in long-term care these days.

Methods: A qualitative study with 51 interviews an participatory oberservation in (Upper)Austrian Care Homes was carried out in 2015/16. Interviewed Groups: Employees, Directors and Care-Management, Unions, staff Committee, Opinion Leaders, Professional Associations, Policy Makers.

Results and Conclusions: Long-termin care in Austria has changed since the early 1990s. The interviewed persons agree, that it is important to have a legal basis on workforce, but he fixed staff-to-resident-ratio (e.g. in Upper Austria) is not suitable to master today’s challenges in care homes. There were changes in many aspects: residents (illness, older, length of stay, dementia, palliative care,…), work load (documentation, quality management, control authorities,…), relatives work, but also in the workforce (older staff, more need for further education, more absences,…). Similar results are discussed in the other Austrian regions and also in Germany. The staff-to-resident-ratio has to be evaluated. There is the need to carry out an occupational psychology assessment of activities in long-term care and to define to ratios. It is necessessary to define the quality of living and work-ing in care homes for the elderly in Austria and to develop new, uniform an transparent methods für workforce in care homes.

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