[ABSTRACT] How Do Long-Term Care Workers Spend Their Time? Answers from the American Time-Use Survey

Title[ABSTRACT] How Do Long-Term Care Workers Spend Their Time? Answers from the American Time-Use Survey
Publication TypeAbstract
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsMuench, U.
Secondary AuthorsJura, M., and J. Spetz
Date Published12/2016
PublisherUCSF Health Workforce Research Center
Place PublishedSan Francisco
Type of WorkAbstract
Publication LanguageEnglish
Keywordslong-term care; LTC workers; well-being; health-promoting activities; burnout

Issue: To compare time spent by the LTC workforce with that of other health professionals (OHPs) with comparable education/skills to better understand factors that might contribute to work stress, burnout, and retention among LTC workers.

Methods: We used the American Time Use survey (ATUS) from 2003-2014, conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, to compare time use among LTC workers with OHPs.

Findings: While LTC workers spent more time on leisure, much of this time difference was attributable to more time watching TV and less time exercising. Unskilled workers spent less time on activities likely to promote overall well-being and health, such as exercising and sleeping. This was consistent with findings of poorer health of LTC workers relative to OHPs. LTC workers reported similar levels of work satisfaction and quality of life compared with OHPs. LTC workers more often provided eldercare to family members or friends several times per month or even daily, suggesting that the LTC workforce may provide such care both professionally and informally.

Discussion: Employers should address the tendency toward sedentary lifestyle among
LTC workers as obesity and hypertension are associated with higher costs to employers, both through greater spending on health care and lower productivity. While LTC workers may be in the best position to care for aging family members, taking on this burden outside of work also may increase pressure on an already strained workforce.

Key Words: long-term care; LTC workers; well-being; health-promoting

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