Omsorg som arbete : Om utbildning, arbetsmiljö och relationer i äldre- och handikappomsorgen

Sammanfattning: Background: At the central administrative level in Sweden, care work is presented as a complex task for which personnel require special qualifications. In elderly care, questions of training and qualifications form the highly topical theme noticed by central actors. According to The National Board of Health and Welfare, the supply of manpower and the educational levels of the workers are the most important factors in ensuring high quality care for the elderly. The question of educational levels is, however, with the exception of personal assistants, not given as much attention in care for people with disabilities. Aim: The aim of this dissertation is firstly to compare elderly care and care for persons with disabilities with the focus to describe and analyse education and work environment in these sectors. Secondly, the aim is to analyse if, and if so how, questions of education interacts with personnel’s view of the social work environment. Methods: The thesis is comprised of four studies and paper 1, 2 and 3 are based on the results of a qualitative interview study, which was comprised of 48 persons who worked in elderly care and the care for persons with disabilities. Of the 48 persons who took part in the study, 11 of them worked as middle managers and 37 worked as care workers in the every day care. Paper 4 consists of a research summary on how education for care workers is being studied in a Swedish and an international context. The personnel who participated in the interview study work in different care settings; in elderly care the personnel work in both sheltered housing and public home care services. In the care for disabled persons, the personnel work in residential housing with special services, in public daily activities for people with intellectual disabilities and as personal assistants. Result: Both managers and personnel find it important for care workers to have a degree of educational background as a basis for the learning process at the work place. The results also show that educational levels and the work environment are themes that are discussed differently by different actors. In previous research on education for care workers in both elderly care and the care for People with disabilities, academic education or education at a ground level has been seen as problematic due to the distance it is said to create between the worker and the care recipient. My results show that the discussion about education for care workers has become rather biased, and that highly educated personnel tend to be more aware of the power they possesses and that the relation to the care receiver is important. In elderly care the issue of education seems to be more a question of a general educational level. In the care for people with disabilities, the question of education for personnel is on a more individual basis, where the care workers learn together with the care recipient. Educational levels, the work environment and relations with colleagues and care recipients are connected and support from the managers is important for understanding the work and the relational perspective.