Pay, conditions and care quality in residential, nursing and domiciliary services

Sarah Carr

How do pay and conditions for workers in residential, nursing and domiciliary care services relate to the quality of care they provide?

Care workers do demanding work for low pay, and social care services are being delivered in an increasingly challenging environment, yet service users, their carers and families have increasing expectations about service quality and care workers’ skills and attributes.

This Round-up finds that:

  • there is no conclusive evidence that increased pay improves care quality, but research shows the importance of making staff feel valued; chances for progression; managerial support and proportional human resource management.
  • care work’s low social status needs to be addressed, and organisations need to understand the personal motivation of care workers. Many are loyal to the sector because they are motivated by a primary commitment to service users;
  • employee retention is important in a sector where staff continuity ensures relationships can be built between care worker and service user


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