Rethinking occupational welfare policies in long-term care organizations during pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to distort our perceptions of normal as the days and weeks and months go by. The occupational welfare of those caring for the elderly in residential carehomes has been an important aspect of the new-normal as those not-for-profit organizations that offer those services must look after their carers to ensure consistent care of their customers.
New research in the International Journal of Managerial and Financial Accounting, has looked at how we might rethink occupational welfare in the long term by adopting an organizational ethics approach.
Giorgio Mion, Angelo Bonfanti, and Francesca Simeoni of the University of Verona, Italy, and Cristian Loza Adaui of the Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany, have used the Fondazione Monsignor Alessandro Marangoni as a case study to examine the ethical questions of the new-normal. This NPO organization adopted occupational welfare policies, enabling it to manage the early COVID-19 outbreak without negative consequences, the team writes.
The team points out that many NPOs offering care services to the elderly have suffered badly in the wake of the pandemic because their customers were particularly susceptible to infection with the causative coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, and the ensuing disease COVID-19, which had a high mortality rate in this cohort. This was especially so prior to the development of working vaccines and efficacious therapies for the disease. The team adds that long-term care (LTC) organizations needed to implement strategic and operational policies to safeguard the health of employees and residents, the team writes, these policies concern both healthcare and managerial/organizational aspects. This was especially true in the north of Italy where the negative impact of the unfolding pandemic in the first few weeks of 2020 was relentless.
Many NPOs in this sector reorganized their internal spaces, adopted flexible working, as well as engaging in effective communication with stakeholders and family members, all at the same time as endeavoring to comply with new lockdown and other laws aimed at halting the spread of the disease and reducing hospitalisations and deaths.
The team has highlighted the positive outcomes obtained by the Marangoni Foundation in its management of the pandemic emergency through the implementation of extraordinary occupational welfare policies. "The activities implemented were related to the ethical dimensions of management in terms of their effects on individuals, managers, the organization and society," the team explains. These were "decisive for meeting the most urgent needs particularly during periods of crisis," the team adds. The researchers point out that it was the empowerment of workers that was critical for enhancing organizational performance during the pandemic especially given that safety protocols often limited some voluntary activities.