Ageing International

, Volume 43, Issue 1, pp 91–109 | Cite as

We’re told, ‘Suck it up’: Long-Term Care Workers’ Psychological Health and Safety

  • Susan BraedleyEmail author
  • Prince Owusu
  • Anna Przednowek
  • Pat Armstrong


This pilot study analyzes interview research with long-term residential care nursing staff in four Canadian provinces, revealing relationships between workers’ psychological health and well-being and working conditions that include work overload, low worker control, disrespect and discrimination. Further, individual workers are often required to cope with these working conditions on their own. The findings suggest that these psychological health and safety hazards can be addressed by both individual workplaces and government regulation, but are currently ignored or mis-recognized by many employers and even by workers themselves. These findings indicate opportunities for improving psychological health and safety in long-term residential care work.


Long-term care Work Gender Racialization Psychological health and safety Mental health Canada 



We are grateful for the support of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (Re-imagining Long-Term Residential Care: An International Study of Promising Practices) and the Canadian Institute for Health Research and the European Institute on Ageing (Healthy Ageing in Residential Places). We are indebted to the Principal Investigator on these projects, Pat Armstrong, and to the co-investigators, for their encouragement and ever helpful critique. Special thanks to Albert Banerjee for his engagement with this research.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Informed Consent

As there is no person or personal data appearing in the paper, there is no one from whom a permission should be obtained in order to publish personal data.

Ethical Treatment of Experimental Subjects (Animal and Human)

The studies described in this article received ethics review and approval from university and institution-specific Research Ethics Boards.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Susan Braedley
    • 1
    Email author
  • Prince Owusu
    • 1
  • Anna Przednowek
    • 1
  • Pat Armstrong
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Social WorkCarleton UniversityOttawaCanada
  2. 2.SociologyYork UniversityTorontoCanada

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