Long-Term Care Facility Workers' Perceptions of the Impact of Subcontracting on their Conditions of Work and the Quality of Care: A Qualitative Study in British Columbia
Albert Banerjee, Margaret McGregor, Sage Ponder, Andrew Longhurst
Subcontracting long-term care (LTC), whereby facilities contracted with third party agencies to provide care to residents, became widespread in British Columbia after 2002. This qualitative study aimed to understand the impact of subcontracting from the perspective of care workers. We interviewed 11 care workers employed in subcontracted facilities to explore their perceptions of caring and working under these conditions. Our overarching finding was one of loss. Care workers lost wages, benefits, security, and voice. Their working conditions worsened, with workload and turnover increasing, resulting in a loss of experienced staff and a loss of time to provide care. These findings call into question the promises of quality and flexibility that legitimated policies permitting subcontracting, while adding to the mounting evidence that subcontracting LTC harms both workers and residents.