This page gathers information about completed or ongoing research projects on COVID-19 and long-term care. If you would like to to contribute information about your project, please complete our online submission form.
AKCOVID: survey on the impact of the pandemic on 20-64 year olds in Austria, including informal carersOngoing
Host institution: Institute for Advanced Studies (IHS), Vienna, Austria
Project team: Nadia Steiber (overall project coordinator), Andrea Schmidt (Austrian Public Health Institute), Cassandra Simmons (European Centre for Social Welfare Policy and Research), Ricardo Rodrigues (European Centre for Social Welfare Policy and Research)
Funding information: Chamber of Labour for Vienna (AK Wien), the European Centre for Social Welfare Policy and Research, and the Institute for Advanced Studies
This is a representative survey of the Austrian population aged 20-64 (N=2000) with detailed information on socio-demographics and impact of the pandemic on informal care (e.g. changes to intensity, prevalence and wellbeing and economic situation of carers), unmet needs and health, employment and income and education. A second wave is planned to be fielded in early 2021, making this a longitudinal survey allowing for more detailed analysis of data on heath and informal care, among other outputs.
Peer-reviewed journal articles and blog entries (in German and English) starting in early 2021 (see for example here: https://www.euro.centre.org/webitem/3855).
A preprint of the first article submitted is available for download here: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/346205616_Care_in_times_of_COVID-19_The_impact_of_the_pandemic_on_informal_caregiving_in_Austria
PUBLICATIONS & OTHER OUTPUTS
Confronted with COVID-19: Migrant live-in care during the pandemicOngoing
Contact: Michael Leiblfinger http://decentcarework.net
Host institution: Johannes Kepler University Linz (AT), International Centre for Migration Policy Development (AT), Slovak Academy of Sciences (SK)
Project team: Michael Leiblfinger, Veronika Prieler, M?d?lina Rogoz, Martina Sekulová
Funding information: Michael Leiblfinger and Veronika Prieler are part of the trinational research project Decent Care Work? Transnational Home Care Arrangements (http://decentcarework.net) and draw on the Austrian part chaired by Brigitte Aulenbacher, funded by the Austrian Science Fund FWF (I 3145 G-29).
The employment of mainly female live-in care workers has become an important pillar of elderly care regimes within Europe. Especially in familialistic welfare states, circularly migrating live-in carers typically from Central and Eastern Europe fill, at least partially, the so-called care gaps emerging from demographic changes as well as the increasing labour market participation of women. Closed borders and other pandemic-related measures put a (temporary) halt to the transnational migration of care workers. Austria, Romania, and Slovakia represent a particular case for studying the effects of COVID-19 responses: Austria is a country with a legalised and highly institutionalised live-in care model. Roughly 80% of care workers come from Romania and Slovakia and commute to Austria in short-term cyclical rotas. As these rotas typically range from two to four weeks, the transnational care arrangements were affected earlier by travel restrictions than in countries where migrant carers stay for longer periods.
By looking at the three mentioned countries, the project examines how live-in care and its workers were affected by the pandemic. We analyse relevant policies and measures in Austria, Romania, and Slovakia and draw on media reports about live-in care and interviews with representatives of live-in care workers’ organisations. What role do the existing regulation of live-in care as well as sending and receiving countries’ pandemic responses play for the situation of care workers? How do care workers, brokering agencies, and their respective organisations react to the pandemic-related difficulties, how do they try to assert their interests, and to what extent does this influence the precarious working and living conditions of care workers? The paper written within the project shows that the pandemic highlighted the fragility of live-in care arrangements and underlined that care workers’ wants, needs, and interests were not only subordinated to the wants and needs of care recipients and their families, but were also at the mercy of several countries and their policies. While both issues have always been true, the national focus of pandemic-related measures drew renewed attention to them as well as to the deep social, gender, and regional inequalities across Europe manifested in care mobility.
Currently, a paper and presentations
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Forgotten key workers: policy narratives in migrant live-in careOngoing
Contact: Michael Leiblfinger http://decent-care-work.net/
Host institution: Johannes Kepler University Linz (AT)
Project team: Michael Leiblfinger, Veronika Prieler
Funding information: Michael Leiblfinger and Veronika Prieler are part of the trinational research project Decent Care Work? Transnational Home Care Arrangements (http://decentcarework.net) with the Austrian part funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF I 3145 G-29) and chaired by Brigitte Aulenbacher.
Over the last few decades, live-in care has become an important pillar of long-term care regimes in familialistic countries like Austria. Commuting live-in care workers, typically women from Central and Eastern Europe, help fill the care gaps resulting from a decline in familial care. Closed borders and other pandemic-related restrictions brought the circulation of care workers, whose rotas typically range from two to four weeks, to a halt. The government scrambled and narratives of an endangered live-in care model and of the ‘systematic importance’ of its carers brought upon a variety of policy responses: to foster care workers’ extension of rotas, a federally funded, tax-free bonus was implemented for live-in carers prolonging their stays for at least four weeks. Additionally, the government initiated negotiations with neighbouring countries in hopes of creating ‘care corridors’ for the suddenly essential live-in care workers. Charter flights and special trains were organised to ensure the supply of live-in carers until borders re-opened. These measures along with the government’s announcement to provide 100 million euros to the social care sector – including live-in care, which received considerable media attention – show the pressure policy actors faced.
The project analyses how live-in care was affected by the pandemic and how related policy responses were shaped by powerful narratives. It asks how different actors including local and federal governments, interest groups, and grassroots organisations interpreted the pandemic-related challenges for live-in care, what problems they defined and how they proposed to solve them, and whose demands they addressed. Preliminary results indicate that while live-in carers were deemed key workers and essential for the long-term care system, the responses deepened the inequalities and dependencies already existing in transnational care arrangements. This links to the structural inequalities and power imbalances that mark live-in care in general. Empirically, the project draws on a media analyses of live-in care in Austria from March 2020 to February 2021. This dataset of over 500 reports is supplemented by governmental documents, relevant laws, and official guidelines as well as six interviews with policy actors in the field. The analyses will shed insights into the narrative of the ‘systematic importance’ of live-in care and its workers and how policy choices were argued and / or defended, focusing on the roles various actors took on in their own or other’s narration.
Currently, a paper and presentations:
Forgotten key workers: Why migrant domestic carers deserve greater support. Post on the EUROPP – European Politics and Policy blog run by the London School of Economics and Political Science https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/europpblog/2021/03/05/forgotten-key-workers-why-migrant-domestic-carers-deserve-greater-support/
PUBLICATIONS & OTHER OUTPUTS
Mc-COVID19 - Coordination mechanisms in Coronavirus management between different levels of government and public policy sectors in 15 European countriesOngoing
Contact: Francisco Javier Moreno Fuentes https://www.mc-covid.csic.es/english-version
Host institution: Institute of Public Goods and Policies, Spanish National Research Council (CSIC)
Project team: Project Coordinators o Eloísa del Pino o Francisco Javier Moreno Fuentes Research Team (alphabetical order) o Gibrán Cruz-Martínez o Jorge Hernández-Moreno o Luis Moreno o Manuel Pereira-Puga o Roberta Perna International team o Austria - Monika Riedel, Institute for Advanced Studies o Belgium - Jozef Pacolet, Research Institute for Work and Society, KU Leuven o Denmark - Tine Rostgaard, Roskilde University o Finland - Tyyne Ylinen, Vera Ylinen, Laura Kalliomaa-Puha, and Satu Ylinen. Tampere University & Social Insurance Institution of Finland - Kela o France - Arnaud Campéon, Blance Le Bihan, Michel Legros, and Claude Martin. EHESP French School of Public Health and CNRS. o Germany - Caspar Lückenbach, Eduard Klukas, Phillip Florian Schmidt and Thomas Gerlinger. Bielefeld University o Greece - Costis Prouskas, and Michael Goudoumas. Aktios SA o Ireland - Sara Burke, and Eimir Hurley. Centre for Health Policy and Management, Trinity College Dublin o Italy - Costanzo Ranci, and Marco Arlotti. Politecnico di Milano o Luxembourg - Robert Urbé. o Netherlands - María Bruquetas-Callejo, and Anita Böcker. Radboud University Nijmegen o Portugal - Luis Capucha, Nuno Nunes, and Alexandre Daniel Calado. Center for Research and Studies in Sociology (CIES-IUL) o Sweden - Lennarth Johansson (1) and Pär Schön (2). (1) Jönköping University, and Stockholm Gerontology Research Center. (2) Aging Research Center, Stockholm University, Karolinska Institutet o United Kingdom - England - Caroline Glendinning. University of York (emeritus).
Funding information: The Mc-COVID19 project has received funding from the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) within the framework of the CSIC-COVID-19 program.
The Mc-COVID 19 project is set to analyse the socio-sanitary co-ordination procedures in the context of institutionalized older-age care (age group that appears particularly vulnerable in this epidemic context), in Spain as well as in the rest of the EU-15. This study focuses on the articulation of resources between health and social policies, and aim to contribute to improve the effectiveness of the decision-making process and crucial aspects in the fight against the pandemic. To better understand what happened in these centres and facilitate policy learning, this study identifies the difficulties faced by institutional actors and nursing homes’ managers between January and August 2020. To this end, the research team conducted 25 in-depth interviews with managers in such centres (directors, administrators, and medical supervisors) in various Spanish regions (Comunidades Autónomas). In addition, the research group interviewed high-ranking officials responsible for both social services and public healthcare at the central and regional levels, and representatives of the trade unions and the employers’ associations of the nursing homes. Furthermore, the team examined documents issued by governmental and independent sources, together with the results of a survey elaborated by the Institute for the Older-age and Social Services (IMSERSO) of the Ministry of Health. Findings aim to be useful to inform other public policy sectors involved in crisis-related situations.
- 6 October 2020 – First report on Spain (Spanish)
- Eloísa del Pino, Francisco Javier Moreno-Fuentes, Gibrán Cruz-Martínez, Jorge Hernánez-Moreno, Luis Moreno, Manuel Pereira-Puga, Roberta Perna (2020)Informe Gestión Institucional y Organizativa de las Residencias de Personas Mayores y COVID-19: dificultades y aprendizajes. Instituto de Políticas y Bienes Públicos (IPP-CSIC)Madrid. http://dx.doi.org/10.20350/digitalCSIC/12636
- 6 October 2020 – Executive Summary of the first report (English version) https://drive.google.com/file/d/1clo_SLmygv4BJPo8ptvN02NXJHc217oo/view
- A summary of the first report is also available here: https://ltccovid.org/2020/11/19/what-went-wrong-and-what-could-be-learned-from-the-institutional-and-organizational-management-of-care-homes-during-the-covid-19-pandemic-in-spain/
- 10 case studies have been published already: https://www.mc-covid.csic.es/english-version/publications and 5 more are expected to be published on the first trimester of 2021
- A comparative report highlighting the experiences, difficulties and lessons learned in 15 EU countries – expected to be published on the first trimester 2021.
PUBLICATIONS & OTHER OUTPUTS
Facing COVID-19: Live-in Care in Central EuropeComplete
Host institution: Johannes Kepler University (AT), Charles University (CZ), Hungarian Demographic Research Institute (HU), HEKATE Conscious Ageing Foundation (HU)
Project team: Brigitte Aulenbacher, Petra Ezzeddine, Charles University, Dóra Gábriel, Michael Leiblfinger, Kinga Milankovics, Veronika Prieler
Funding information: Brigitte Aulenbacher (lead), Michael Leiblfinger, and Veronika Prieler are the Austrian members of the trinational research project Decent Care Work? Transnational Home Care Arrangements (http://decentcarework.net), funded by the Austrian Science Fund FWF (I 3145 G-29).
During the pandemic, working conditions in receiving and sending countries have been further undermined. Facing worse conditions in their home countries, migrant workers nonetheless have been pushed to accept jobs offered abroad despite potential health and other risks and restrictions during the pandemic. The cross-border care labor market is often portrayed as a win-win one, in which older people receive affordable care and migrants a job paying more than alternatives at home. In fact, this Central European care market creates a scheme of nationality-based structural inequalities, transnational exploitation of workforce, and exclusion amidst a myth of an egalitarian and integrated Europe. Although the fragility of live-in care was given new attention by the pandemic, care workers’ and receivers’ wants and needs were either not addressed, or addressed insufficiently or unevenly. People in need of care and their relatives faced a lack of public support and anxiety because of closed borders. While many measures aimed to ensure the continuation of live-in care, workers’ living and working conditions that were precarious even before the pandemic remained ignored. Because of social distancing – also between care receivers and their relatives –, carers faced increased workloads and isolation. Transnational travel brought the risk of contagion and/or (unpaid) quarantine. Care workers stuck in their home countries faced financial deprivation. And despite discourses about their systemic relevance, care workers were presented as a threat to public health and national labor markets. The social and financial burden of the pandemic thus ended up falling on the shoulders of circular migrants.
PUBLICATIONS & OTHER OUTPUTS
Impact of COVID-19 Policy Responses on Live-In Care Workers in Austria, Germany, and SwitzerlandComplete
Host institution: Johannes Kepler University Linz (AT), University of Zurich (CH), Goethe University Frankfurt (DE)
Project team: Michael Leiblfinger, Veronika Prieler, Karin Schwiter, Jennifer Steiner, Aranka Benazha, Helma Lutz
Funding information: This research is part of the of the project Decent Care Work? Transnational Home Care Arrangements, a cooperation of Aranka Benazha, Amanda Glanert, Helma Lutz, Iga Obrocka, and Ewa Palenga-Möllenbeck from Goethe University Frankfurt/Germany; Brigitte Aulenbacher, Michael Leiblfinger, and Veronika Prieler from Johannes Kepler University Linz/Austria; and Karin Schwiter, Jennifer Steiner, and Anahi Villalba from the University of Zurich/Switzerland. The project is funded by the German Research Foundation DFG, project no. LU 630/14-1, by the Austrian Science Fund FWF, project no. I 3145 G-29, and by the Swiss National Science Foundation SNSF, project no. 170353. http://decentcarework.net
Context: The measures taken to counter the COVID-19 pandemic restricted the circular migration of live-in care workers between their countries of origin and the elderly persons’ households.
Objective: In this comparative policy analysis, the impact of COVID-19 related policy measures for transnationally organised live-in care in Austria, Germany, and Switzerland is investigated.
Method: Policy measures and media debates were analysed and inquiries with care workers, representatives of care agencies, unions, and activist groups were carried out between March and June 2020.
Findings: In accordance with their institutionalisation of live-in care, Austria, Germany, and Switzerland responded differently to the challenges the pandemic posed to live-in care arrangements. However, all three countries focused on extending care workers’ rotas and re-establishing transnational mobility. These priorities subordinated the interests of care workers to those of care recipients. Furthermore, the measures remained short-term solutions that failed to acknowledge the fundamental flaws and inequalities of a care model that relies primarily on female migrant workers and wage differentials within Europe.
Limitations: This policy comparison is based on an in-depth analysis of COVID-19 related policies, supplemented by inquiries among stakeholders with whom research had been done prior to the pandemic. More in-depth interviews are required to further substantiate the findings concerning their perspectives and gain insight into the longer-term effects of the pandemic.
Implications: The pandemic has brought the flaws of the live-in care model to the fore. Countries need to rethink their fragile care policies, which build on social inequality and uninhibited transnational mobility.
Paper and presentations
PUBLICATIONS & OTHER OUTPUTS
51-430-1-PB.pdf (1,007.2 KB)
NuRsing hOme Staff burdEn during Covid-19 paNdemic (ROSEN-project)Complete
Host institution: Institute of Nursing Sience, Medical University of Graz
Project team: Manuela Hoedl, Daniela Schoberer & Nina Thonhofer
In recent months, several papers were published on the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects. A literature review conducted in Pubmed revealed that 425 papers containing the MeSH terms “COVID-19” and “nursing” have been published since January 1, 2020. Most of these articles place a focus on the care of patients in specific hospital settings. Only six articles focused the nursing home setting, and only two of these articles address the situation of staff offering direct nursing home care. Therefore, few studies – and especially qualitative studies – have been carried out to explore the situation in nursing home settings during the pandemic. Such studies would enrich the scientific community and clinical decision makers and provide detailed insights.
We conducted a qualitative descriptive interview study with 18 participants to obtain an in-depth understanding of the burdens placed on staff working in a nursing home during the pandemic as well as the consequences of the situation. Nursing home staff considered the qualitative work load and work organisation as major concerns during this pandemic. The main aspects that were described with regard to the qualitative work load were the additional tasks that needed to be performed during the pandemic to care for the residents, because the interventions placed the residents under stress and dealing with the relatives presented significant challenges. Nursing home staff reported experiencing psychological consequences, such as uncertainty, fear and stress, as major effects of the COVID-19 situation.
Articles & presentations.
March 2022 – Paper published in The Journal of Advanced Nursing:
COVID-19 pandemic: Burdens on and consequences for nursing home staff
PUBLICATIONS & OTHER OUTPUTS