Immigrant Home Health Workers Experiences: A Qualitative Description Studyedit
Unmet long term care needs are increasingly filled by immigrant home health workers who are primarily female (88%), racial minorities (85%), and from developing countries including Mexico, Caribbean, Philippines, and Africa. The growing numbers of immigrant home health workers are a result of global factors including economic policies, colonial histories with developing countries, and immigration legislation. In addition to macro factors, personal motivations lead migrant home health workers to immigrate and find jobs in the U.S. Once in the U.S., little is known about migrant home health workers’ caregiving experiences and work conditions. This study was designed to address this need and explored the personal experiences and viewpoints of the workers. Additionally information on migration histories and work setting was gathered to contextualize caregiving experiences. The study was guided conceptually by caregiving theory on the commodification and devaluation of “care” which can ultimately result in outsourcing care to immigrant women. Qualitative description methods were used to guide the research design, data collection, and analysis of twenty-three semi-structured interviews of female immigrant home health workers in Massachusetts. Interviews focused on three topics: caregiving experiences, reasons for migrating to the U.S., and work conditions. Findings will add to the knowledge base about immigrant home health workers paying particular attention to how workers themselves describe their experience which will in turn inform future policy and program initiatives on inclusion of a multicultural workforce into the long term care system.