Burden and consequences for nursing home staff during the first COVID-19 wave in Austria

Presenter: Manuela Hoedl (Institute of Nursing Science, Medical University of Graz)

Abstract for the International workshop on COVID-19 and Long-Term Care systems: What have we learnt and what policies do we need to strengthen LTC systems?, 6 and 7th December 2021

Watch the presentation:

Manuela Hoedl: LTC-COVID International Workshop 6 – 7 December 2021


Background: Nursing homes were a strongly affected setting during the COVID-19 pandemic, and nursing home staff were key personnel in the fight against the coronavirus and its impacts. Few studies – and especially few qualitative studies – have been conducted to explore situations in nursing home settings in depth during this time. Therefore, we performed a study to assess burdens placed staff working in nursing homes during the pandemic as well as the consequences of the situation.

Methods: We conducted a qualitative descriptive interview study with 18 participants. Interviews were carried out with a semi-structured interview method. Data were analysed with a qualitative content analysis method by combining an inductive and deductive coding frame.

Findings: Results show that the qualitative work load and work organisation were major concerns. Regarding the qualitative work load, participants stated that they were required to perform additional tasks to care for residents, because the pandemic interventions placed the residents under stress and dealing with relatives presented significant challenges. Nursing home staff reported that psychological consequences such as uncertainty, fear and stress represented major effects of the COVID-19 situation.

Interpretation: We could show that qualitative workloads were assessed and perceived differently. Most nursing home care staff members experienced the pandemic interventions as both physically and psychologically challenging. We highly recommend that nursing home staff receive support in such pandemics by being allowed, e.g. personal protective equipment breaks. Individually tailored programs need to be established to enhance wellbeing and decrease psychological stress and fear in such challenging times.

List of authors and affiliations:

Dr. Manuela Hoedl: Institute of Nursing Science, Medical University of Graz

Nina Thonhofer BScN: Institute of Nursing Science, Medical University of Graz

Dr. Daniela Schoberer: Institute of Nursing Science, Medical University of Graz

To find out more about the study:


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