Level of empowerment and health knowledge among home support workers providing care for frail elderly
LE3 .A278 2004
Bachelor of Science
Nutrition & Dietetics
Canada's health care system has long been recognized as one of the best in the world. Under the health care umbrella, home care services were created to prevent, delay or substitute long term and acute care alternatives and to enable people to live longer in their homes. Home support workers [HSW], who are the front line workers in the home care environment, provide the needed personal daily care to frail elderly in their homes. While HSWs are integral to the home care environment, little or no studies have examined their level of empowerment and health knowledge. Thus, the purposes of this study were to examine the profile of HSWs in Nova Scotia and to determine the level of perceived work empowerment and general health knowledge. A sample of 64 HSWs from five agencies in Nova Scotia were included. Background characteristics, work profile, level of empowerment and health knowledge related to seniors, falls, nutrition and physical activity were assessed using a series of questionnaires. Findings revealed that the majority of workers were older females with a mean age of 46 years. Forty-four participants indicated that they received additional training in nutrition and physical activity, while three-quarters specified that they received health information from training and workshops. However, health knowledge scores were low, with an overall mean score of 40%. Empowerment level was moderate, with a mean overall score of 13.9 out of 20, and a moderate amount of formal power was found. The findings demonstrate the need to revise the curriculum of home support workers to include health topics and the need to develop continuing education and implement strategies to enhance the level of empowerment among home support workers.
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