IJERPH, Vol. 18, Pages 12350: The Paradox of Political Accountability and Deficits in the Preconditions for Service Delivery in Elderly Care: A Qualitative Study of Swedish Politicians (International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health)
The aims of this qualitative grounded theory study were to explore how politicians accountable for Swedish elderly care viewed their assignment, their beliefs and knowledge regarding the psychosocial work environment for elderly care employees, the factors affecting their work environment, and how these politicians regarded elderly care during the COVID-19 pandemic. This study consisted of 41 interviews with politicians in municipalities across Sweden. Three categories emerged from the analysis: (1) interpretation of the assignment directs the focus; (2) recognizing shortfalls in the employees’ work environment; and (3) exposing deficiencies due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The strongest category was identified as interpretation of the assignment directs the focus and was described as the delivery of good and quality care. Nevertheless, this study highlights shortfalls in the delivery of care services where the employees’ work environment, especially in the home care sector, was frequently described as stressful. The COVID-19 pandemic adversely affected the work situation for staff in elderly care. In that setting, staff shortage and lack of competency were common. Nurses were particularly affected by high workload and responsibility. Further research should explore civil servant roles in the elderly care sector and how these actors view their collaboration with municipality politicians.