An exploratory qualitative study on relationships between older people and home care workers in South Korea: the view from family carers and service providers

  • Ageing and Society, December 2013, Cambridge University Press
  • DOI: 10.1017/s0144686x13000950

Relationship between care worker and older people

What is it about?

Although the proportion of older people using home care services has significantly increased in East Asian countries, the issue of the relationships between older people and home care workers in the East Asian context has received scant attention from scholars. This exploratory qualitative study aims to explore these relationships under the new Korean long-term care insurance system. Semi-structured in-depth interviews were conducted with 22 family carers and private-sector home care service providers (home care workers and provider managers). The findings show that while the majority of family carers interviewed reported that their relationships were good, the majority of service providers' responses were more negative. Service providers stated that they experienced a number of difficulties that affected their relationships with older clients, including excessive demands or sexual harassment by the older people in their care, exposure to unsafe working environments, and poor treatment in terms of pay and conditions. The findings suggest that stable and good relationships between home care workers and their clients have not been secured in Korea's long-term care system.

Why is it important?

Relationship between service user and provider has been regarded as a micro field level issue. However, this research found that a number of macro and mess level issues have been related with the relationship as well


Yongho Chon
Incheon National University


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