care migrant Ireland discrimination domiciliary institutional
Doyle, Martha and Timonen, Virpi, The Different Faces of Care Work: Understanding the Experiences of the Multi-Cultural Care Workforce, Ageing & Society, 29, 2009, 337, 350
Ageing & Society 29
An increased demand for long-term care services coupled with the decreased
availability of informal (family) carers in many industrialised countries has led to
the employment of growing numbers of ‘migrant care workers ’. Little is known
about this heterogeneous group or of their experience of employment in longterm
care. Providing an important insight into a hitherto little researched and
poorly understood topic, this article presents the findings of a qualitative study in
Ireland that sought greater understanding of migrant carers’ experience of care
work and of the intra-group differences among them. The findings suggest that
some members of the long-term care workforce are more likely to confront obstacles
and discrimination than others. The data indicate that the experiences of
European, South Asian and African carers are significantly different and that
relationships may exist between carers’ region of origin and their experience of
care work, employment mobility and long-term plans for remaining in the sector.
The findings underscore the significance of acknowledging the unique barriers
and obstacles faced by particular populations of care workers. A better understanding
of the changing demographic profile and needs of both care recipients
and their paid (migrant) care-givers is required to ensure that appropriate policy
and practical interventions are developed to support both groups.
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