Good Care during COVID-19: A Narrative Approach to Care Home Staff’s Experiences of the Pandemic

Marleen D. W. Dohmen*, Charlotte van den Eijnde, Christina L. E. Thielman, Jolanda Lindenberg, Johanna M. Huijg, Tineke A. Abma

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Due to its major impact on Dutch care homes for older people, the COVID-19 pandemic has presented care staff with unprecedented challenges. Studies investigating the experiences of care staff during the COVID-19 pandemic have shown its negative impact on their wellbeing. We aimed to supplement this knowledge by taking a narrative approach. We drew upon 424 personal narratives written by care staff during their work in a Dutch care home during the COVID-19 pandemic. Firstly, our results show that care staff have a relational-moral approach to good care. Residents’ wellbeing is their main focus, which they try to achieve through personal relationships within the triad of care staff–resident–significant others (SOs). Secondly, our results indicate that caregivers experience the COVID-19 mitigation measures as obstructions to relational-moral good care, as they limit residents’ wellbeing, damage the triadic care staff–residents–SOs relationship and leave no room for dialogue about good care. Thirdly, the results show that care staff experiences internal conflict when enforcing the mitigation measures, as the measures contrast with their relational-moral approach to care. We conclude that decisions about mitigation measures should be the result of a dialogic process on multiple levels so that a desired balance between practical good care and relational-moral good care can be determined.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2106
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2022

Cite this