Like one of the family? Understanding relationships between migrant live-in care workers and older care recipients in Israel Academic Article uri icon


  • Frail older people worldwide are increasingly being cared for in their own homes by migrant live-in care workers; however, extant literature on care relationships in this care context is sparse. The purpose of this mixed-methods study was to explore the quality and the nature of care relationships between full-time, live-in migrant care workers and older people in Israel. Quantitative and qualitative data were drawn from a 2014 survey of 116 migrant care workers and 73 older care recipients. Mean scores for four quantitative items relating to care relationships were examined and independent samples t -tests and Pearson correlations were performed, whereas qualitative data were examined using thematic analysis. Credibility of qualitative findings was checked by peer review. Most older people and migrant care workers gave high ratings to the four items. Significant correlations between the two groups were found for their responses on all four relationship items assessed, with only one item (‘get along well’) producing significant t -test differences. Qualitative data provided a deeper understanding of the quantitative ratings of care relationships. Four major qualitative themes emerged as inextricably tied with both groups’ perceptions of positive care relationships. These were: an emotional connection; reciprocity; effective communication; and meeting the older person's care needs. Study findings were interpreted through the theoretical lens of relationship-centred care. Implications of the findings for theory, practice and further research are discussed.

publication date

  • January 1, 2018