ASCOT for staff

Background

Wellbeing at work has been increasingly recognised as important to an individual’s physical and emotional well-being and for organisational and work outcomes, such as turnover and quality of work. In the health and social care sector, which involves emotional and physical labour, staff wellbeing is likely to have a significant impact on the quality of service provided, and outcomes related to patients and service users. Understanding the aspects of care workers’ quality of life most affected by social care work should therefore have positive implications for workers’ physical and psychological health, organisational outcomes and improved quality of care to services users. Ultimately, understanding how we can improve care staff wellbeing at work can lead to organisational and economic gains by improving staff morale and reducing turnover rates and the associated recruitment costs. This study is the first step to finding a way of measuring how social care workers’ quality of life is affected by their work. While there are some scales to measure well-being at work, these usually focus on job characteristics such as wages, patterns of work and supportive environment yet ignore emotional rewards from caring. Further, they do not examine the impact of care work on workers’ own quality of life, which seems critical to workers' wellbeing and motivation. A conceptually similar measure exists of the impact of caring on the quality of life of unpaid carers (ASCOT-carer) but it is likely that an equivalent staff measure will require different domains to be sensitive to paid carers A measure sensitive to the impact of care work on staff well-being is likely to enhance understanding of the workforce factors influencing care quality and delivery.

Aims and Objectives

This study aims to develop a way of measuring the impact of care work on care worker’s quality of life (‘care work-related quality of life’). We will do this by looking at it from the perspective of care workers and others working in this field in England. Specifically, we will:
  1. Review and appraise current wellbeing at work scales that are relevant to social care work;
  2. Identify key domains necessary to develop a care work-related quality of life tool that is specific to the adult social care workforce in England (ASCOT-Staff);
  3. Identify potential ‘at work’ support mechanisms likely to improve care staff wellbeing.

Methods

The study adopts a multi-method approach, conducted over three stages: (1) A review, using a systematic search methodology: We will look at the research that has been done before to determine the gaps in knowledge and identify key aspects of care work that have the most impact on workers’ wellbeing; (2) Focus groups and individual interviews with key stakeholders: We will conduct focus groups with frontline care staff and managers in the domiciliary and care home sectors in addition to interviews with other relevant parties and policymakers. This will help us to identify the most important aspects that need to be included in the measure and consider how these might be used to inform policy and practice within the sector; and (3) Synthesising and validating the findings: After the focus groups and interviews we will come up with a list of factors (domains) that could be included in the measure, and they will be sent out in a survey to all participants from focus groups and interviews, advisory group members and other experts identified throughout the study. This will enable us to reduce the number of items on the list and ensure they reflect the priorities of stakeholders.

Anticipated Impact

Robust evidence of the ways in which care work affects staff quality of life should begin to stimulate wider debate around working conditions and strategies for improving wellbeing at work in this sector.

Outputs

We anticipate two peer-review journal articles and one academic conference. We also plan to present at carers and providers' events and share findings through sector partners, as pathways to wider impact.

Core members:

Shereen Hussein; Sinead Palmer; Ann-Marie Towers; Nadia Brookes; Barbora Silarova

Project Advisory Group

Partners

Publications

Presentations

Blogs and Media

Summary of findings

Study Launch

We are delighted to announce the start of ASCOT-STAFF on the 9th of September 2019. You can read more about it here.

For more information about the project please contact:

Dr Barbora Silarova

Email:

Phone: +44 (0) 1227 816166

 

Personal Social Services Research Unit

The University of Kent

Cornwallis Central, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NF