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Addressing the workforce crisis in (rural) social care: a scoping review
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Epidemiology and Global Health.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8143-123x
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Epidemiology and Global Health.
School of Health, University of the Sunshine Coast, QLD, Sippy Downs, Australia.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Epidemiology and Global Health.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7087-1467
2024 (English)In: International Journal of Health Planning and Management, ISSN 0749-6753, E-ISSN 1099-1751Article, review/survey (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

Background: This scoping review identifies strategies potentially addressing the ‘workforce crisis’ in rural social care. The increasing global demand for social care has been coupled with widely recognised challenges in recruiting and retaining sufficient staff to provide this care. While the social care workforce crisis is a global phenomenon, it is particularly acute in rural areas.

Methods: The review identified 75 papers which (i) had been published since 2017, (ii) were peer reviewed, (iii) concerned social care, (iv) were relevant to rural settings, (v) referenced workforce shortages, and (vi) made recommendations for ways to address those shortages. Thematic synthesis was used to derive three analytical themes with a combined 17 sub-themes applying to recommended strategies and evidence supporting those strategies.

Results: The most common strategies for addressing social care workforce shortages were to improve recruitment and retention (‘recruit and retain’) processes without materially changing the workforce composition or service models. Further strategies involved ‘revitalising’ the social care workforce through redeploying existing staff or identifying new sources of labour. A small number of strategies involved ‘re-thinking’ social care service models more fundamentally. Very few papers specifically considered how these strategies might apply to rural contexts, and evidence for the effectiveness of strategies was sparse.

Conclusion: The review identifies a significant gap in the literature in relation to workforce innovation and placed-based studies in rural social care systems. It is unlikely that the social care workforce crisis can be addressed through continuing attempts to recruit and retain workers within existing service models.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
John Wiley & Sons, 2024.
Keywords [en]
recruitment and retention, rural social care, social care workforce
National Category
Health Care Service and Management, Health Policy and Services and Health Economy Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-221017DOI: 10.1002/hpm.3774ISI: 001153680000001PubMedID: 38297468Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85184158850OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-221017DiVA, id: diva2:1842708
Funder
Swedish Research Council Formas, 2016‐00352Available from: 2024-03-06 Created: 2024-03-06 Last updated: 2024-03-06

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Carson, Dean B.Johansson, Albert BrunetHurtig, Anna-Karin

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International Journal of Health Planning and Management
Health Care Service and Management, Health Policy and Services and Health EconomyPublic Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology

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