Bergqvist M, Bastholm-Rahmner P, Gustafsson LL, Holmgren K, Veg A, Wachtler C, Schmidt-Mende K
Int J Older People Nurs - (-) e12498 [2022-08-17; online 2022-08-17]
NHs have been severely exposed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Little is known about how staff who provide practical daily care of older residents experienced work during the pandemic. The aim of this study was to understand how nursing assistants (NAs) experienced their work at nursing homes (NHs) for older people during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. We conducted a qualitative study of focus group discussions with in total 20 participants from four NHs in Stockholm, Sweden. Discussions were held in November 2020. Transcripts were analyzed using inductive thematic analysis. We identified three major themes: 1) We felt abandoned, scared and disrespected, 2) We made sure we made it through, and 3) We can do good work with appropriate resources. NAs felt disregarded as they were often left alone without adequate support from managers, registered nurses and the municipalities. NAs felt distressed and guilty and developed their own strategies to cope and manage their work. During the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic NAs felt abandoned and burdened due to lack of leadership. Organizational improvements are required to protect the wellbeing of NAs and to ensure sustainability of patient safety. NAs are crucial in the care for vulnerable older people and their experiences should constitute a keystone for development of future policy and practice in NHs.